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Why do Music Festival Tickets Take so Long to Refund After Cancellation.

Andy Robertson

With many music festivals being cancelled this year the key issue often highlighted by ticket buyers is the length of time taken for refunds to be made. There are numerous factors that can influence how a refund is processed with different organisations involved and understanding these can help reduce anxiety for anyone waiting for their refund. 

When a music festival organiser decides to cancel or postpone an event, they need to consider many factors before making any announcement. Rushed press releases about cancellation can lead to delays and logistical confusion. Having a well-defined refund policy and a robust plan in place for processing refunds prior to announcing cancellation can help avoid customer complaints and adverse publicity. What are the factors influencing refunds and how can organisers minimise potential issues. 

Event Organiser Challenges. 
Any organiser facing financial and staffing issues can certainly become overwhelmed by refund requests after announcing a cancellation. With limited staff it can take a considerable time to process thousands of refunds and assumes that organisers have sufficient funds to honour payments. The cash that organisers have may be used to pay staff, artists and contractors who may have cancellation clauses in their contracts and any legal disputes can cause delays in making these payments which may be prioritised over ticket refunds. In some instances, organisers may instigate an insurance claim which can take time to process, if they are waiting for a claim to be settled before processing refunds the delay can be considerable. 

Payment Gateways and Ticketing Companies. 
Most festival organisers use third party ticketing companies or payment gateways who have very strict processes for making refunds. Part of this is due to compliance with regulatory authorities who oversee practices of any company involved in processing payments. It is not uncommon for organisers and payment processors to be out of sync when processing large volumes of refunds with the added complication of chargeback and processing fees in addition to the ticket value. Payment processors and organisers will need to verify every refund request as part of their fraud prevention obligations and involves checking purchase records and payment details to ensure every refund is legitimate. Every payment processor will have different processes and timescales when issuing refunds, a longer refund process is not always under the control of the festival organiser. 

Minimising Refund Issues. 
Festival organisers should have a clear and easy to understand refund policy that is communicated to all ticket buyers usually forming part of the terms and conditions of sale. If there are potential issues involving insurance or cash flow challenges that will cause delays in refunding tickets organisers should clearly and transparently communicate this to ticket holders when announcing an event cancellation. If the event is to be postponed to the following year organisers can offer a ticket validity carry over to the new event as an alternative to claiming a refund. This can help organisers who have cash flow issues and reduces the overall number of refunds being requested. 

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. 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, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Image by geralt via Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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