Solve It 7: Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

(WHDH) –Spring is in the air, which typically marks the beginning of wedding season. But this year is anything but typical. COVID-19 is making brides and grooms scramble to rearrange their wedding plans. Some tell us the venues they booked are threatening to keep their deposits if they don’t re-book their wedding by the end of the year. We asked Solve It 7 legal expert Bob Harnais if a venue can refuse a refund for a wedding that’s been postponed due to the coronavirus.

“First you have to look at the contract and see what it says,” Harnais notes. “Outside of that [stipulation] being in the contract, they should be giving you your money back. They’re not providing a service that you contracted for.”

Harnais says a venue can not force a couple to pick another date in 2020. He says the couples have the right to schedule their wedding for when they want, not when the function hall or venue is telling them they need to.

Many Solve It 7 viewers have had questions about distance learning, which has become a way of life for students all across the world due to COVID-19. Some college students are upset because they say they aren’t getting what they paid for. Students at Boston University and Northeastern have even filed lawsuits seeking financial reimbursement for things like tuition, housing and other fees. Are they entitled to a refund? Not necessarily, Harnais says.

“The college students are still getting an education and that’s what they’re paying for,” he says. “They’re not seeing [teachers] face to face, they’re not in a classroom, but again it’s the learning aspect. They are being educated by the professors.”

Harnais says students may have a better case arguing for refunds for food and living expenses while their campuses are closed.

Many viewers have concerns about paying for housing as the crisis continues. Evictions and foreclosures are on hold during the pandemic, but people are looking ahead. A man who lost his job emailed us because he is worried he won’t be able to afford his apartment even once he goes back to work because his hours – and therefore his income – will be significantly reduced. The viewer wonders if he can break his lease since his income will be lower than expected.

“You can always break your lease, but you may get sued down the road,” says Harnais. “I strongly encourage tenants who can’t afford their rent down the road to contract their landlords and speak to them.” He says landlords understand the situation many of their tenants are in and may be willing to work out some kind of compromise.

Other viewers are frustrated over having to pay for sports programming that isn’t airing. With all major sports leagues suspending play during the pandemic, several people emailed wondering why their TV provider is still charging them an additional fee for regional sports networks (RSNs) every month when no sports are being played. Harnais says while there’s no live sports being shown, there’s still content.

“They are actually broadcasting old games,” he says. “Past games. So they are giving you a product. It’s not an up-to-date product, but they are giving you the product with regards to sports.”

Some cable providers have said they may offer rebates to subscribers, but that determination likely won’t be made until the major sports leagues determine how and when they’ll return to action.

We know you have questions related to the coronavirus and we’d like to try and get some answers for you. if you have a COVID-19 related question, give us a call at 617-367-7777 or send us an email at SolveIt7@WHDH.com.

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