Why FMCA did not refund registration fees for cancelled rally

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The following letter was sent by FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association) to its members explaining why it was not refunding their registration fees for the club’s recently cancelled Tucson international rally. Members paid anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand dollars. Instead of refunds, the club offered certificates good for a future rally.

Questions have been raised about the certificates being given to Tucson convention attendees. This decision was agonized, discussed and debated from the moment the Board of Directors voted to cancel the event.

FMCA logoThe decision to cancel was based upon protecting the health and well-being of our members, vendors, and staff. Even if we had not decided to cancel, the decision would have been made for us. Large gatherings have been disallowed. The event could not occur this week even if we wanted it to. I commend the Executive Board on prioritizing the well-being of everyone in attendance over finances.

Based on comments in the posts, a few items need to be addressed.

FMCA does not have an insurance policy for this type of cancellation. We do have general liability for each event that is put on. It covers if someone is hurt and other incidents that can occur while the event is taking place. If we purchased insurance for every single scenario that could occur, it would be tough to offer anything at a reasonable price to our members.

Cancelling the Tucson event on such short notice resulted in a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars. FMCA has six full-time employees who do nothing but plan and execute our conventions. Their salaries, benefits, and other overhead required to run the department now have no income to offset them. There are many deposits and money needed to secure services for the events such as grounds deposits, entertainment, decorating and electrical, and many others as well. Some will be able to be rolled over to future events. Others will be lost. Either scenario creates a massive cash flow issue.

Lastly, as stated in the letter from FMCA national president Jon Walker, FMCA is a non-profit organization. The budget is set to break even or make a very slight profit each year. These two events being cancelled will cost the bottom-line hundreds of thousands of dollars.

WITH A BOTTOM LINE budgeted to break even, this situation is crippling to our operations. Some companies can more easily weather the storm. For example, cruise ships are offering full refunds and future credits for cancellations. Those companies make millions of dollars in profit each year. Unfortunately, FMCA doesn’t have that luxury. Many other companies do not either, so they are offering certificates for future service as we are.

This is not an ideal situation for FMCA and nearly all the United States and Canada. With our members support and compassion, we will come out of this stronger than ever. Thank you for your understanding in these difficult times. 

We’ve had many items to sort through and we can’t thank you enough for  your support while we have worked feverishly to provide clarification in a timely manner.

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Highqbrainiac
5 months ago

In light of the fact, that the Members who paid up front have to take this hit, it would be nice to see, in writing, the financial statements of FMCA, AND, be told and verified that all board members stop receiving a salary! That way, even though no one will feel any better, it will show what the real costs were, and that the association will be saving the salaries of the officers. Let’s see how quick members pay UP FRONT next time (if there is a Next Time), I know we won’t! Lesson learned!!

Duane Nelson
4 months ago
Reply to  Highqbrainiac

FMCA doesn’t want to talk about their 7 million dollar investment portfolio that was disclosed in their latest published financials. In that report the club President, Jon Walker, had almost $12,000 in reported income.

Paul Goldberg
5 months ago

I have been a member since 2004 – F352081 – and will remain so long as the organization survives, or I am able. I fear for FMCA’s survival at this point in time. Those demanding a refund are asking for blood from a stone. The cash is not there. Much of it was spent preparing for the convention. FMCA has been making some unpopular changes just to keep operating. I commend the board and staff for the work they have done. Letting go 6 staff has to be among the most painful, especially since they will be needed to get back to running conventions when the virus shutdown is past. They will be hard to replace.

Captn John
5 months ago

Just as I was considering joining~~ decision made, Nope!

Vanessa
5 months ago
Reply to  Captn John

Bad decision. Who could have planned for this? I will use my paid registration next spring to attend in Perry GA. The benefits outweigh this inconvenience.

Bill
5 months ago

Finances rule. Money doesn’t grow on trees. They can’t refund money that has already been spent unless they get refunds themselves. It’s a club, people, cut them some slack.

Duane
4 months ago
Reply to  Bill

I have learned that many people supporting the actions of FMCA did not register for the Tucson event, therefore they are not our any money. And when I ask if they want to buy my voucher, some indicate they are not sure when they might attend another rally.
That speaks loudly to the value of a voucher to a member. Since FMCA had over 7 million dollars in investments reported on their last published financial statement, cash was available for refunds. I’m offering a 20% discount for anyone needing a voucher. Any takers?

Fred Gagne
5 months ago

Curious why the FMCA does not apply for a Government-backed loan and refund Rvers monies and pay employees. I understand these loans will be forgiven if certain criteria are met.

MrDisaster
5 months ago
Reply to  Fred Gagne

They will have to wait until the rules are written to see if they qualify.

Tommy Molnar
5 months ago
Reply to  Fred Gagne

“I understand these loans will be forgiven if certain criteria are met.”

So this would not be a loan, but free money . . . . Just sayin’.

Jens Lutz
5 months ago

I am so glad that we did not renew our membership with these crooks. Just exactly what are the exorbitant salaries of these 6 employees? I think that under the circumstances, FMCA should make public all of their financials associated with this event! After all; it was FMCA decision to cancel and giving a gift certificate is a cheap out since many people had juggled schedules to attend.

Vanessa
5 months ago
Reply to  Jens Lutz

Their financials are public. I’ll be using my certificate to attend next spring in Perry. Plus I use all of the other benefits…just hope I don’t need the emergency evacuation benefit.

Ed D.
5 months ago

We cancelled our membership in the FMCA a while back. They have been attempting to get us to resign but now I am glad we didn’t. If there is one thing I disdain, it is Companies, or Associations, that refuse to own up to their obligations to refund money to Customers when an event is cancelled! This just proves that we were right to cancel our membership! I hope the remaining Customers of the FMCA, follow our lead and cancel their memberships as well! You are only as good as your degree of “HONESTY” and “INTEGRITY” that you display to your members! Obviously, the FMCA is sorely lacking in both catagories!

Ron
5 months ago

We cancelled our reservation several weeks prior to FMCA cancelling the rally due to our thinking that this outbreak would be getting worse. We received the normal refund minus the $50 fee.

Richard Warnke
5 months ago

My wife and I are/were registered to attend the Tucson convention. Several days after it was cancelled, I phoned FMCA to inquire about a refund. The friendly gal at the FMCA office assured me we would receive a refund. More than a week passed before definitive information arrived about the certificate for attending a future convention. No refund, even though it had been promised.

To make matters worse, the coupon/certificate for attending a future convention will expire in about two years. We have attended two conventions in the 25+ years we’ve been FMCA members. At that rate, odds are slim we’d find it convenient to use the certificate before it expires.

I do believe FMCA has botched its response to the unfortunate COVID-19 situation and to the Tucson cancellation.

BTW, I’ve found FMCA to be very tight-lipped about its financial reserves. What is it hiding?

Bob Perkins
5 months ago
Reply to  Richard Warnke

I do not have a dog in this hunt but if it were me I would contact my credit card company and dispute the charge as you did not receive anything for your money. Also as a side note I will not be renewing my membership when it comes due. FMCA will not be around long with business practices like this.

Ed D.
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob Perkins

Bob, I wrote a comment in this thread. We cancelled a while back and they have been attempting to get us to resign ever since. I am now glad we didn’t. As I said in my comment: A company, or an association, is only as good as their degree of Honesty and Integrity! They appear to be lacking in both catagories!

Steve
5 months ago

I am not a member anymore, but if I was, I would cancel my membership.

Bruce Plankinton
5 months ago

I’ll be cancelling my membership!

Ann
5 months ago

The airlines and cruise companies are doing the same thing. Maybe the FMCA could apply to Uncle Donald for a bailout , like the airlines have.

Bill Hall
5 months ago

FMCA needs to allow those to whom certificates were issued to transfer them to other FMCA members. That way a member who for whatever reason is unable to attend a future rally will not be stuck with the loss.

Ran
5 months ago

I’ll be cancelling my membership!

Tom
5 months ago

See you in Perry.

Steve Barnes,Kamloops, BC
5 months ago

Sad for the registrants and for FMCA but this is reality. The Board probably had no options. Hopefully FMCA survives. Expect many other organizations, thousands, to go under. Steve Barnes, Trustee in Bankruptcy, Retired

Ed D.
5 months ago

It is only a reality when you have a dishonest and greedy association!