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Star Party Registration Refunds

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#1 BarrySimon615

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 12:06 PM

I would like to know what the policy is for other star parties in respect to refunds. This is something we have wrestled with over the years at the Deep South Regional StarGaze. At our event money taken in covers basically three things -
1) The registration fee which covers our expenses which include cost of door prizes, administrative expenses, speaker expenses, awards, etc.
2) Meal expenses - with all paid to our venue/host.
3) Lodging expenses - with all paid to our venue/host.

Naturally we sometimes have people who register yet cancel before the event begins. (We also have some that register but never show up. Sometimes we learn about their "no-show" status from some other attendee or by phone call, often after the event.)

In respect to refunds our policy has been -

a) Cancel for whatever reason prior to the event and before I call and "lock-in" the meal count with the venue; I can issue a full refund.

b) Cancel for whatever reason prior to the event but after I have called the venue to "lock-in" the meal count and I can issue a refund for registration and lodging, but not for meals. (What is paid in advance for meals is forfeit because the venue has ordered food based upon the numbers I had prior to the cancelation.)

c) No-shows - typically we do not offer refunds if a registrant is a no-show unless that person has a very good story. Certainly meal refunds are not offered ever after the meal count has been set. Also a "no-shows" lodge room has been held for him, sometimes preventing a late registrant from getting a room; accordingly they are charged for the room that they do not use. Registration refunds are more case by case, depending upon the reason.

Most understand the policy, although a few will always feel that if they do not show up (doesn't matter the reason) they should get a full refund. Fortunately this happens rarely. So my questions are: what do others do and is our policy too harsh or too lenient.

Note - if you are not a star party organizer, please do not speculate on what you think a policy should be. I am more interested in what policies are actually in place for other organized star parties.

Regards,

Barry Simon, Director
Deep South Regional StarGaze
(founded 1983, 2014 will be our XXXII Annual)

#2 bicparker

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 01:12 PM

Barry,

TSP - We post the terms on the web site. Basically, we refund the amount less a handling fee ($5) prior to our published due date (about a month before the event date... The published due date is April 28, 2014 for the next TSP). After the due date, the amount is forfeit.

The due date is the decision point and its communication to the attendees is vital. For TSP, it is published on the web site and through the registration payment process.

#3 WadeH237

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 06:20 AM

As an attendee, in the few cases I've not been able to make the event, I have not asked for a refund.

My thinking is that these events are not for profit and that the value for what you get is pretty high (especially when you consider the amount of volunteer work that goes into putting them on). Also, I have noticed that attendance seems to be shrinking in the last few years. I would like to see the events that I attend continue, so the last thing I would want to do is ask for money back.

I realize that I'm probably not typical in this regard. As such, the policies that are listed here seem quite reasonable to me for attendees that would like a refund in various cases.

#4 BarrySimon615

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 09:41 AM

More often than not when I have a registrant who thru calculation error has overpaid, I offer them a refund of the overpayment when they arrive at the Deep South Regional StarGaze. In most cases they tell us to keep the overpayment as a donation to the event.

While I do think it is reasonable for us to offer a refund for various circumstances I also realize that for many events advance payment is forfeit if you "no show". As I said before, that is pretty much the rule we live by. If someone notifies me before the event begins and before I turn over room count and meal count info to the venue, a refund can be made. No so however if someone is a "no show" and doesn't bother to call until the event is over. In that case, the fees they paid are forfeit.

In 31 years of the Deep South Regional StarGaze the only real problem we ever had came about 20 years ago. In that instance we had an attendee come in and set up a tent on the main field. He had driven about 500 miles to get to our event and when he arrived he asked about checking in and registration. I was not on the field, I was off at one of the speaker programs. He happened to ask the wrong person where to set up, someone quick to offer advice but totally clueless about any of the rules we had in place. This person told the new arrival to just set up the tent on the field or at least that is how he interpreted what she had said. (This was totally wrong as we did not allow tents, campers or rv's on the main field of our old venue due to restricted space. Tents were all on the adjacent field. Anyway close to nightfall the new attendee finally caught up to me. As it was deepening dusk I told him to leave his tent where it was until morning and he would have to move it then being only fair to the other tenters who were off the main field.

The next morning he came to pay his fees and I reminded him that he had to move his tent. He got indignant and I reminded him about our conversation the previous evening and that our rules were the rules and that I was not about to justify where his tent was to the other tent campers. He said "that lady told me I could set up where I am and I am not moving". I told him that she had no authority and was not aware of the rules. He threatened to leave and head home if he could not keep his tent where it was. Within the hour he was on the highway home.

We live by the line from "A Tale of Two Cities" and "Star Trek - The Wrath of Khan": "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."

Barry Simon

#5 seawolfe

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 06:53 AM

We live by the line from "A Tale of Two Cities" and "Star Trek - The Wrath of Khan": "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."

Barry Simon


Unless you are "the one" and have Needs! :roflmao:

#6 edwincjones

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 07:16 PM

as an attendee, but not an organizer,
I think the the policy should be stated on the web site
and you follow -whatever


edj






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