I paid for a 3 day professional conference in March that was to be held in July. On the day I was to leave home, I became quite ill and was unable to attend. The conference registrar is refusing to give me a refund of my registration because "we held a spot for you". It cost me $450. How can I persuade them to refund my money?

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    You have no case here. You canceled on the day of the event. – Jack Oct 10 '18 at 18:47
  • I suspect if you had gotten travel insurance, you might have been able to get the conference cost covered too. But that is a lesson learned in hindsight. – thursdaysgeek Oct 10 '18 at 21:39
  • I did check the cancellation policy but asked for a refund anyway. I did not have travel insurance. I did not have airline reservations as I was driving. The conference was 6-1/2 hours from home. – Carol Ann Raymond Oct 10 '18 at 23:59

How can I persuade them to refund my money?

You could ask again and say "please".

Or you could ask if they could apply all or a portion of the cost toward a future conference.

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You can't. I'd put a fair amount of money that the T&Cs for the conference include details of how much of your fee you get back if you cancel at certain points before the conference, and it will be "nothing on the day of the conference or later" - if you even told them you were cancelling, which it sounds like you might not have done.

And this is the right policy for them to have. Their marginal gain from you not showing up is just about zero, but they couldn't resell your spot to another potential attendee at such short notice.

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Since you asked for a refund knowing that you were outside the cancellation policy, and were declined, you have no further recourse. They fully met all their obligations.

Asking us after being turned down by them will not help.

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Both of the above answers are correct (+1). The conference spent the money on all of your training materials, facilities, speakers, A/V equipment, meals, and other expenses, and that did not change with your not attending.

Further cancelling the day before the event did not allow them enough time to go to their potential wait list to see if another candidate previously not going could then go.

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  • Just to clarify and respond to the last answer: No money was spent on training materials by the conference, as we were all sent materials emails ahead of time to download and print ourselves. If there were 500 other folks attending, how could my non-attendance have affected their budget? I just want to try and figure out a win-win situation from this circumstance by perhaps asking if they could offer registration for free at next year's event. – Carol Ann Raymond Oct 10 '18 at 23:56
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    @CarolAnnRaymond The problem is that you are probably not the only no-show. Out of 500 people there are going to be multiple illnesses, family emergencies, and work emergencies. If they are going to change their policy to refund on late cancellation, it is going to cost them a lot more than your refund. – Patricia Shanahan Oct 11 '18 at 2:56

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