The Dutch Consumentenbond has urged other ticket sellers to follow Ticketmaster's lead in agreeing to return service costs along with ticket refunds
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Ticketmaster US has refuted allegations of quietly shifting its policies around postponed events, saying it remains up to event organisers to authorise refunds
By IQ on 17 Apr 2020
Ticketmaster has moved to clarify its refund policy in the United States, amid reports of fans struggling to secure refunds on tickets for cancelled events.
As reported by the New York Times, some consumers in the US have accused the ticket agency of changing its policies to mitigate cashflow issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Times, “[w]hereas “a few weeks ago”, the wording on the Ticketmaster website “said that people can get refunds ‘if your event is postponed, rescheduled or canceled’ [sic], now it only lists cancellation as a basis for getting your money back, though it suggests there may be other circumstances in which refunds might be considered.”
However, says TM, its refund policy in US has remained the same throughout the crisis – promoters, many of whom are working to reschedule their events, are in charge of ticket monies and the refund process – and the new wording aims to clarify that policy. (Similarly, IQ understands, in other markets, such as Denmark, the refund procedure remains the same as pre-coronavirus).
A statement from the company reads: “Ticketmaster serves as the sales platform for event organisers worldwide. Our standard practice is for our clients to hold the cash from their ticket sales. Clients using our platform also retain the ability to set individual policies for their postponed or rescheduled events.
“Typically, event organisers have had the flexibility to offer refunds for virtually all postponed and rescheduled events. However, the unprecedented volume of over 30,000 events impacted to date, coupled with continued uncertainty over setting new dates while awaiting clearance from regional governments, has led to event organisers needing additional time to reschedule their events before deciding to offer refund options.
“Clients using our platform retain the ability to set individual policies for their postponed or rescheduled events”
“As of today [16 April], over 11,000 events, including over 4,000 postponed sports, concerts and arts events, have already authorised refunds. While we cannot guarantee all event organisers will offer refunds on their rescheduled events, we anticipate the vast majority will make a refund window available once new dates have been determined. In addition, Ticketmaster continues to issue refunds for all cancelled events.”
On the promoter side, AEG Presents – with Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation one of the big two global concert promoters – has also put out a statement explaining its refund policy, saying it will offer customers a 30-day window to receive refunds for postponed events, starting from 1 May.
Ticketholders for cancelled AEG-promoted events, meanwhile, will automatically receive a refund, a company rep explains.
Similarly, “Live Nation’s plan is to continue offering an opportunity for refunds on all of its rescheduled shows as new dates are set,” an LN spokesperson tells the Times. “We anticipate those windows will begin to open up on an event-by-event basis in the next few weeks.”
The clarification from Ticketmaster follows secondary ticketing platform StubHub being slapped with a US$5 million lawsuit over its refusal to issue cash refunds for tickets resold on its site.
In Europe, many governments are backing promoters’ requests to be able to offer credit or vouchers in lieu of refunds, with the German live business the latest to be given the go-ahead. Cash refunds, however, must be given if they are specifically requested.
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