CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Issues arise with stimulus payments and the IRS's "Get My Payment" tracker, Ticketmaster clarifies refund policy, and 62% of Americans have had to cancel plans due to coronavirus

BySimone Chavoor KGO logo
Thursday, April 16, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Problems with stimulus payments and the IRS's "Get My Payment" tracker arise

With many direct-deposited "economic impact payments" hitting Americans' bank accounts this week, a few common complaints have arisen.

Some are finding that their payments went to the wrong bank accounts. While the errors could stem from different causes, one common reason is that if a taxpayer used a tax preparation service to file their taxes in previous years, the Treasury could have sent their stimulus to the bank account used by the preparer.

For example, if a taxpayer used a service such as H&R Block, TurboTax, or even a mom-and-pop preparation service, the taxpayer might opt to pay their preparer out of their tax refund for that year. In that instance, the preparer would set up a bank account where the IRS could send the refund, and once the refund is received, the preparer would then send the taxpayer their refund minus the preparer's fee.

In this instance, it's recommended that people check the status of their payment with the IRS's new "Get My Payment" tool, which will allow them to see if their stimulus payment has been processed, and where it will be sent. If the payment has been sent to an unfamiliar account, they should contact their previous tax preparers as well as their bank.

Some banks have set up processes to automatically return the funds to the IRS. When this happens -- or when the IRS sends money to a bank account that is already closed, which will automatically bounce -- the IRS will then send the money via check to the person's last known address. Everyone who receives stimulus money will receive a letter from the IRS within about 15 days, with instructions on what to do if the payment was incorrect or sent to the wrong place.

Others have had difficulty using the IRS's "Get My Payment" tracking tool in the first place. One error message being received is "Payment Status Not Available." According to the IRS, this could mean one of several things:

  • You are not eligible for a payment
  • You are required to file a tax return and have not filed in tax year 2018 or 2019
  • You recently filed your return or provided information through the IRS's "Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info" form
  • You are a SSA or RRB Form 1099 recipient, SSI or VA benefit recipient - the IRS is working with your agency to issue your payment

The IRS notes that the "Get My Payment" tracker is updated once a day. Those who see a "Payment Status Not Available" message should continue to check back regularly -- although there's no need to do it more than once per day.

Ticketmaster clarifies refund language, will only give refunds for canceled events

Ticketmaster has clarified their policy on refunds for postponed events -- and many customers are unhappy.

Whereas previously Ticketmaster offered refunds for shows that were canceled, rescheduled, or postponed, as of mid-March, the ticket seller changed their refund policy language to say that only canceled events would qualify a ticketholder for a refund. Ticketmaster says that this has always been their policy, and that the changes to the language were for clarification.

Ticketmaster has also stated that the money goes from the ticket buyer to Ticketmaster, then to the venue, making it difficult for Ticketmaster to offer refunds since they don't have the money in hand. Ticketholders who wish to get refunds for postponed or rescheduled shows are encouraged to contact the venue directly -- although as with many businesses, many venues are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Almost two-thirds of U.S. adults have canceled travel or events due to coronavirus, says survey

62% of American adults have canceled their travel or event-attendance plans due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey by Of those who canceled their plans, 37% (about 59 million people) have lost money doing so. Only 30% report receiving a full refund.

Out of the plans canceled, the most often cited were celebrations like weddings and graduations (31%), hotel or short-term lodging stays (27%), flights (23%), concerts (18%), sporting events (16%), and live theater (14%).

Who's canceling their plans the most? 73% of Gen Z has had to cancel plans, followed by the Silent Generation (those born in the mid-1920s to the mid-1940s) at 66%, then millennials at 65%. Only 60% of Gen Xers and 56% of Baby Boomers report having to cancel.

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