Martyn James: Ticket troubles and how best to obtain a refund

If a gig, event, festival or show – in fact anything you have purchased a ticket for or paid in advance to attend – is cancelled, you are entitled to a full refund of the face value of the ticket if you have bought from an official seller. Usually, the promoter or event organiser will refund you on the card you paid with if the event is called off completely.

Many events have been rescheduled

But for many people, events are being rescheduled – often to the same day next year. But what if you can’t attend? Or how about if you still have lingering concerns about the safety of large gatherings in the coming year?

If you can’t attend, you should be entitled to a full refund too. Make sure you explain to the ticket agent why you can’t go. If you are able to attend, but simply don’t want to, then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get your money back, but contact the seller anyway as they may be understanding in these times.

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Ticket refunds and
section 75

If cancellation refunds aren’t coming through for tickets costing less than £100 your bank or card provider may be able to “charge back” the money. You may have to sign a waiver to show you’re not breaching a contract by doing this.

If you paid more than £100 on a credit card and bought the ticket(s) directly from an agent – not through a third party – then you may be able to make a claim under what’s known as section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This is a legal right you have to claim the money back from your card provider.

Ticket resale

That all seems straightforward, but what about if you’ve bought from a ticket resale agency, exchange or fan-to-fan site?

Well, in this case, the situation is less clear cut, as your dealings are with a third-party, but some have already confirmed that customers will be entitled to a refund if the event does not go ahead. Check the terms and conditions of the site you have bought from.

However, we’ve heard reports that some people are not being given refunds but vouchers to spend onsite, or are even being told to resell the tickets. We disagree with this. Ask the firm to speak to the original ticket seller who will need to reclaim the face value refund.

We need to know

In a similar way to the travel industry, ticket sellers have faced an onslaught of calls and demands for refunds. But rather than making their policies clear on their websites, some have not been very forthcoming.

The industry’s trade body, Star, says that while there’s no specified timescales for refunds, prior to the pandemic it would expect businesses to refund as soon as a gig was cancelled without rescheduling. While a business may only be able to do this now if it has money itself, as opposed to having to recall it from a promoter, Star adds that long delays without information are not acceptable.

One other thing to bear in mind is that it’s likely that some businesses will go under. When a firm goes bust, it’s likely you’ll lose your cash. If you’re struggling to get a refund, speak to your bank or card provider and ask if they can ‘charge back’ the money from the organiser. And once again, under section 75, you may also be able to make a claim to your credit card provider if you paid more than £100.

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