Music Festival Ticket Payment Plans and Credit Regulations.
With the prices of music festival tickets getting ever more expensive the use of payment plans to purchase tickets is becoming common practice. The ability to offer some form of credit can be a complex process for festival organisers in the UK where offering such plans is usually regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
The average price for a weekend festival ticket in 2023 is likely to be in excess of £300 which only allows entry to the event. Additional costs on top of this are parking fees, camping pitch costs and travel but most festival organisers offer an overall package deal that can work out cheaper than buying each service individually. The cost per festival-goer can start adding up to a total of £700 or more. This is a hefty sum to spend in one go and spreading the cost is now preferred by many ticket buyers.
Any organisation that offers any form of credit or loan to consumers in the UK should be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which issues consumer credit licences. The guidance offered by the FCA is complex and technically detailed so festival organisers need to obtain professional advice to ensure they are sufficiently covered. Most plans on offer consist of a nominal deposit followed by 3 or 4 further payments taken on later dates. No interest is charged on these schemes and payment is usually be accepted from credit cards or direct bank transfers (debit cards).
Third Party Ticketing Companies.
To reduce any complexities or regulatory breaches most festival organisers use third party organisations to process tickets. All ticketing companies operating in the UK will have a consumer credit licence registered with the FCA. Similar requirements can be found in European and North American markets too with multinational ticketing companies having multiple registrations to ensure cross border compliance.
Protection of Ticket Buyers and Refunds.
Festival organisers should be familiar with their legal obligations regarding ticket purchases which are covered by the Consumer Credit Act 1974 in the UK. Ticket terms and conditions can be quite strict giving little recourse to festival-goers seeking a refund for whatever reason. This can be complicated when part payments have been made under a payment plan. However, any purchase between £100 and £30,000 made with a credit card is covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. If there is any problem with the festival the credit card company has an equal responsibility to make sure that ticket buyers are not left out of pocket. Ticket buyers can usually claim their money back when a festival hasn’t delivered promised services, or if they’ve misrepresented the event. Unfortunately, this protection does not extend to payments made by debit card. For payment schemes where a deposit has been paid (under the £100 threshold) but the full price is £300 for example, ticket buyers can still claim the full sum already paid.
Festival organisers and ticketing companies rely on their legal terms and conditions of sale when tickets are being purchased but this does not absolve them from their duties under the FCA regulations and the Consumer Credit Act.
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