It was supposed to be a special celebration for one of Jessica Pupo’s little superheroes at an indoor activity center in Miami-Dade.
“It has everything,” she said. “It has a bounce house, it has rock climbing.”
Then COVID-19 hit South Florida, causing the closure of non-essential businesses in Miami-Dade County last month. So Jessica had to get creative.
“We had a virtual birthday party with all our family and friends and his teachers and some of his friends from school,” she said. “It was very interesting.”
The party she had initially planned was canceled. Her $800 deposit was in limbo.
“It took us a little bit to save,” she said. “It was a big investment that we wanted to do for our family and for our little one.”
Jessica said it took a few calls, but she was eventually able to connect with someone at the business.
“She mentioned that she had applied for a loan,” she said the person who called told her. “She has other employees, she has other things that she has to pay for so it’s scary to know that I’m all the way at the bottom.”
The business confirmed to NBC 6 Responds they had applied for a loan but didn’t know “…how long it will take to process” adding that once they get the financial help, the “…client will be refunded.”
“If there’s an open-ended date, I think it would make sense to open a dispute with the credit card company,” said Ted Rossman, industry analyst at Creditcards.com.
Ted said Jessica might want to consider doing a chargeback with her credit card company as a backup.
“I know a lot of people are doing this and therefore the banks are being somewhat stingy when it comes to giving the refunds,” he said. “But I would definitely try and I think you could have a strong case here, just saying the event didn’t happen [and] you didn’t get what you paid for.”
Jessica said she might explore that option.
“I would love my money back,” she said. “I understand that wasn’t their fault but it’s also not my fault.”
She said she would love to see the company get the loan they applied for so they can pay back all of their clients whose events were canceled.
“Who knows when they’re going to get their loan,” she said. “That’s going to be the other issue.”
NBC 6 reached out to the Small Business Administration Friday and several county agencies to see how many South Florida businesses had submitted loan applications and how many had been processed, but we did not hear back.