Lewiston, ID asked in Consumer Law for Idaho

Q: Is it legal for an RV campground to ask for a doctors note if a person can’t make their reservation due to surgery?

My niece made a reservation at an RV park last April for a camping spot for September 29-October 1. She paid the camping fee of $130. In September, I was told that I needed to have surgery on my shoulder as soon as they could get it scheduled. I told my niece on September 13 that I was not going to be able to go camping because I had to have surgery. My niece attempted to get a refund of the camping fee; however since it the reservation was not canceled within 24 hours of the reservation being made she could not get a refund. I had my surgery on September 26. She was able to get 25% back. I called the campground to find out why she did not get 100% back. They said it is their policy to refund only a percentage of fee depending on when the reservation was canceled. However, they told me to fill out a refund request form. I did. They responded telling me to submit a doctors note. It is a camping fee, not an employer. Is this legal?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the facts provided, it does not appear legal under Idaho law for the RV campground to require you to provide a doctor's note in order to receive a refund for the camping reservation.

In Idaho, there is no specific statute governing refund policies for recreational campgrounds. However, general contract law principles would apply.

Requiring a doctor's note is likely an unreasonable term or condition for a basic camping reservation refund. The campground asking for private medical documentation to prove why you could not make the trip is excessive and intrusive.

Under contract law, there is a duty of good faith and fair dealing implied in every contract. Requesting a doctor's note for a camping refund violates this good faith duty.

Additionally, the campground already provided a partial 25% refund, which indicates some accommodation can reasonably be made. Requiring a doctor's note moves beyond their own policy.

While the campground can set its own refund rules, they must be reasonable and cannot impose unfair burdens like providing private medical records.

In summary, based on general consumer protection and contract law principles in Idaho, it is likely unlawful for the RV park to demand a doctor's note to provide a full refund on your camping reservation.

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