Ticketmaster Receives Backlash Over Refund Policy Amid Coronavirus Pandemic [Update]
Update: Ticketmaster have reached out clarifying their refund policy, adding further explanation. They state that their purchase policy has always been that tickets are non-refundable. While refunds are issued automatically for canceled events, event organizers own the decision to place refund limitations on postponed or rescheduled events.
Organizers have often offered flexibility in the past, but given the current situation with an unprecedented number of events affected, Ticketmaster are focused on supporting these organizers as they work through such unknown factors as venue availability, new dates and how refunds may work while rescheduling their shows as the status of these shows continues to evolve. In certain cases, this means the pre-standing refund policy will continue to be enforced.
The coronavirus pandemic is hitting the touring industry hard, and it looks as though Ticketmaster has made a change in wording to their refund policy, as recently pointed out by Digital Music News.
The report points to the alteration on the ticketing giant's refund explanation page, which previously stated that "refunds are available if your event is postponed, rescheduled or canceled" with an asterisk noting an exception for MLB and U.S. Open events.
However, as Digital Music News points out, the page has recently been updated to only include "refunds are available if your event is canceled," removing the "postponed or rescheduled" option. See the screen shots showing the page before and after below.
Ticketmaster have also revealed a new message breaking down the differences between canceled, postponed and rescheduled events. Though postponed and rescheduled events don't receive the automatic refunds that canceled events do, ticket buyers are not always totally out of luck.
"If an event organizer is offering refunds for postponed or rescheduled events, a refund link will appear on your Ticketmaster account," says the site in its message, putting the impetus on the event organizer as to when refunds may be offered.
They add, "Otherwise, you are encouraged to periodically check back online to see if the status of your event has changed." As Ticketmaster have clarified, this is not a change to their policy, as event organizers have always owned the decision to place limitations on refunds for postponed or rescheduled events. They continue to work with the organizers trying to sort out the continually evolving situations for shows across the entertainment industry.
The full Ticketmaster message explaining their refund policy can be read below:
Caring for the safety and well-being of our fans has been and always will be Ticketmaster’s most important priority, especially during challenging times like these. As global health concerns continue to develop, our team is working diligently behind the scenes, coordinating with federal, state and local officials in monitoring and assessing overall impact, while actively supporting the artists, teams, festivals and venues you love as they determine how best to proceed with the thousands of events they have on the horizon.
As we receive updates from artists, teams and show organizers on their postponed and rescheduled events, as well as their individual refund policies, we will be providing fans with the latest news on their event status via this comprehensive information portal. For events in Canada, please click here.
As always, canceled events are automatically refunded. If an event organizer is offering refunds for postponed or rescheduled events, a refund link will appear on your Ticketmaster account. Otherwise, you are encouraged to periodically check back online to see if the status of their event has changed.
In the meantime, please see below for more detailed guidance:
For future events that are still scheduled, you’re all set. There’s nothing you need to do, and if anything changes, we will contact you with updates.
If your event was canceled, there’s also nothing you need to do. It’s Ticketmaster’s standing policy to automatically refund the full cost of the ticket and fees to the original purchaser’s method of payment used at time of purchase. For any canceled events, due to the unprecedented volume of cancelations, please note that you should expect to receive your refund in as soon as 30 days.
If your event was rescheduled, we are working with the event organizer to identify new dates, and we will contact you as soon as we have confirmation. At that time, if you have any questions or concerns, you’ll be able to reach out to Ticketmaster Fan Support for assistance.
If your event organizer is offering refunds for a rescheduled event, a refund link will be visible under the event in your Ticketmaster account.
Please note that given the unprecedented circumstances, event organizers are constantly assessing the situation and making determinations regarding refunds. If your event is not currently enabled for refunds, check back later, as this status may change.
If your event was postponed or rescheduled and you are unable to attend (and resale is enabled for your event), you can sell your tickets to other fans on our safe and simple Ticketmaster resale marketplace. If refunds are not allowed for your event and you post through ticketmaster.com, we will waive seller fees for fans that create(d) resale postings from March 17 through May 31.
For additional information, you can contact our Fan Support team. Please note that due to the high volume of inquiries, we are experiencing longer than normal wait times. We very much appreciate your patience and understanding at this time.
For now, we want to thank you for being such a valued part of the live entertainment family. We are working around the clock on solutions to make this process as streamlined as possible for our fans.
At Ticketmaster, our mission is to connect people through the power of live events. What makes these experiences so special is the pure joy we feel from being a part of the broader community of like-minded, dedicated fans, which is why we’d like to take a moment to offer our most heartfelt support to any of our fellow fans, friends and family who have been affected by this virus. We wish everyone the best health and safety during this difficult time, and we look forward to returning to our favorite live events as soon as possible.
Ticketmaster currently offers a link to "Find the Status of Your Event" for those not sure on the status of events they have purchased tickets for.
As you might expect with the world feeling the financial pinch from the pandemic, there has been some backlash to the current policy on refunds. See a few of the tweets below:
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