I bought a "lifetime" parking pass from a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the 1980s for $1,000, good for an event they hold every year. Around 2010, the nonprofit sent me a letter saying I had held my lifetime pass long enough and I now had to pay a yearly fee of, I think, $400. The intent of my donation was to procure the "lifetime" parking spot. They have made me pay for less desirable spaces over the last several years. When I complained this year, a committee member told me "the pass you got is the pass you are getting." I think I have an agreement for my lifetime space and that they should be accountable to that agreement. What do you think?
It is hard to harmonize the concept of a “donation” for a lifetime parking pass that obviously has a monetary value. If it was truly a donation, however, you probably have no standing to sue to enforce the conditions and a state Attorney General is not likely to take this one on.
But assuming that you had an enforceable contract that ran through until 2010, you probably couldn’t enforce it now. The statute of limitations on a contract claim varies from state to state, but nine years is probably too late to sue under most of them. Even if the statute of limitations has not run out, you have probably lost your rights by not seeking to enforce them for nine years after you learned of the organization’s default, especially when it appears you have paid what they asked and accepted the spaces they provided.
I can understand your annoyance with the organization’s changing the rules as you understood them, but at this point I wouldn’t counsel you to pursue a claim legally. You don’t really want to spend the time and money it would take to sue, even if you have a claim. I’d urge you to reflect on the great deal you had for a quarter of a century. And if you don’t want to pay for a lousy space, you might try to find someone else who is going to the event and see if you can get a ride.