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Cancelled and Postponed Event Ticket Refunds and the Small Print.

Andy Robertson

As so many events and music festivals were cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic most organisers opted for postponing to 2021. The majority of event organisers gave ticket buyers the option to request a refund or carry over their ticket to a postponed date with most ticket holders opting for the latter.

There have been issues with some well-known event organisers being particularly harsh on ticket buyers. Event organisers with strict policies on refunds have in some cases relied on their terms and conditions of purchase to avoid making refunds or indeed making it particularly difficult for ticket buyers to get their money back. When a ticket is purchased the buyer is agreeing to the terms and conditions imposed by the event organiser and is the basis of a contract that both parties enter into in completing that transaction.

The now infamous Utlra Music Festival class action case in the United States has been dragging on since May 2020 and has yet to be concluded. The case in essence revolved around two ticket buyers who were refused a refund because the ticket buyers had not applied within the specified period and were unwilling to transfer to the rescheduled dates. 

With the prospect of some events rescheduled for 2021 being moved yet again ticket holders may have to wait until 2022 to attend their chosen event. Combined with more people feeling the financial pressures from the ongoing pandemic there could potentially be an increase in demand from ticket holder to seek a refund. However, many event organisers did impose a time limit on refunds and there is no standard policy on ticket refunds in the industry and organisers terms and conditions vary widely. 

A balance is required though and an element of reasonableness is required to make the ‘refund’ policies fair for both parties. As long as the organisers have provided a reasonable period of time to apply for refunds, they cannot be a fault when a ticket holder asks for a refund at a later date. If an event postponed from 2020 to 2021 is subsequently postponed again to 2022 will event organisers open up an offer of a refund again, it's doubtful. 

For event organisers the cancellation of an event has been compounded by issues with insurance companies not paying out and making insuring of future events difficult or impossible. It’s probably worth reviewing any ticketing purchase terms and conditions to cover potential refund situations, equally ticket buyers should be reviewing very carefully the wording used in terms and conditions of purchase to ensure they meet their needs. For any ticket holders urgently needing a refund they should speak directly with the event
organisers as they should be assessing these on a case-by-case basis and make a refund as necessary, it may only be a handful of cases but prevents any bad publicity. 

For any event organisers planning their 2021 events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need to plan every aspect of their event. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing. 

Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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