Shanghai Disneyland faces backlash over ticket refunds after Typhoon Lekima hits

By Zhang Hongpei Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/12 17:38:39

A Mickey Mouse parade at the Shanghai Disneyland theme park in June 2017 Photo: IC

Shanghai Disneyland made headlines after consumers complained that the resort shouldn't invoke an unfair clause in dealing with ticket refunds because of Typhoon Lekima.

Due to inclement weather conditions, Shanghai Disney Resort including Shanghai Disneyland was closed on Saturday. Guests with tickets for Shanghai Disneyland on Saturday may choose to visit the park on any other day within the next six months (by February 10, 2020), according to a notice released on the official Weibo account of Shanghai Disney Resort on Friday.

Consumers were quick to complain that the company did not specify whether ticket buyers could obtain refunds if they skip their tours.

Shanghai Disney Resort is using its advantageous position to force consumers to accept a provision that is in its own interests, some netizens complained.

One netizen named Shier said in the company notice comment area that he bought four tickets for his family on Saturday but wouldn't be able to come to visit Shanghai within the six-month period. "I hope the resort can consider the situation of consumers like me. I'd be satisfied if even  a portion of the admission fees is refunded. We have all encountered the typhoon and hope we can understand each other."

The comment has received more than 58,000 likes.

Shanghai Disney Resort updated its notice on Saturday, adding that "If you cannot visit the park in the next six months, you can contact your original ticket purchase channel to obtain a refund, or follow the instructions at the end of this notice."

The hotline of the resort ticket reservation center could not be reached as of press time.

"The resort should not omit mentioning refunds without having had any consultations with its customers," said Wang Defu, a professor specializing in tourism at Beijing International Studies University.

In a case of force majeure, such as a typhoon, negotiations are needed between seller and buyer instead of a one-size-fits-all solution, Wang told the Global Times on Monday.

It is equally important to make contingency plans, especially for such an international chain brand, analysts said.

Liu Junhai, a business law professor at Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday that Shanghai Disney Resort should learn a lesson from the incident. It should prepare ahead and consider consumers' interests in the first place. Only in that way can it expand its popularity among consumers and reinforce its position amid the fierce competition in the mushrooming theme park sector. 

"The initial consumer peak of Shanghai Disneyland has gradually ebbed, and now it must make steady efforts to attract attendees," said Jiang Yiyi, director of international tourism development at the Beijing-based China Tourism Academy. 

Shanghai Disney Resort opened in June 2016, and had more than 11 million visitors in the first year.

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