If a child bought an amusement park membership using their parent’s info but the park refuses to refund or cancel, what can they do?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If a child bought an amusement park membership using their parent’s info but the park refuses to refund or cancel, what can they do?

My daughter, who is 12, used my debit card and my information to purchase a 12 month membership with Six Flags for her friend. I contacted the park via phone and email several times, and the last time they told me that

Asked on August 17, 2017 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can most likely void the agreement due to the age of your child, which makes it legally impossible for her to enter into such a contract on her own (as a legal "infant," 12-year-old cannot legally contract). Also, if your child basically represented that she was you, you cannot be held to a contract to which you did not in fact agree but where someone else claimed to be you (contracts require actual consent to be effective).
However, if the park will not voluntarily void the contract and return the money, you'd have to sue them. If you are not in the same county as them, you'd have to sue in the small claims court for the park's county, which could involve travel and extra time; even if you are in the same county and even if you were to represent yourself in court ("pro se"), assume you will lose at least one full day of work, possibly more, to this process, and will likely have some minor unrecoverable costs associated with the process. So legally, it appears that you have a right to the money, but depending on how much is at stake, it's not clear that it's worth doing this, or if (speaking as a parent, now, not a lawyer) it might not be better to make your daughter pay for this herself, either with her own money (if she has any), or possibly by doing chores for you or other family at some agreed upon hourly "rate" until she has "repaid" all the money. That will put the consequences on her, which is where they belong.

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