Ticketmaster has been criticised after making it seemingly impossible for fans to secure refunds to shows that have been postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The ticketing site has previously vowed to provide refunds for cancelled events, but their UK policy when it comes to rescheduled gigs is decidedly less straightforward for fans.
Instead of clarifying whether fans can secure refunds if they are unable to attend the new date, they are instead advised to resell tickets on their own site.
The ticket exchange allows the site to rake in more fees from sellers, and funds generated from resold tickets will also only be available to sellers after the gigs take place – meaning cash could be held back for up to a year.
On their own website, Ticketmaster’s FAQs on “cancelled or rescheduled” events states: “If your event has been cancelled, there’s nothing you need to do. We’ll get in touch with you directly with more information.
“If your event has been rescheduled, we are working with the event organiser to identify new dates and we will contact you as soon as we have confirmation and more information this.”
But Ticketmaster’s policy on postponement seemingly suggests that fans will be unable to get their money back if they are unable to attend the new date.
It states: “We can’t offer any exchanges or refunds if your event is going ahead on the date originally planned – but how about selling your tickets to another fan for the price you paid?”
In the US, Ticketmaster was criticised last night after confirming that refunds will not be available on cancelled shows.
According to an image secured by the The New York Times, a page on Ticketmaster’s website which used to say refunds “are available if your event is postponed, rescheduled or canceled”, now states that refunds “are available if your event is canceled.”
Posting on Twitter, one user wrote: “Ticketmaster changing their policy and not allowing refunds if a concert is postponed has to be one of the most idiotic moves I’ve ever seen, especially now that we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Fuck Ticketmaster I think.”
It comes amid reports that the UK live music industry has already taken a £60 million hit due to coronavirus, with Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation experiencing a huge dip in its share price.
Coronavirus has led to the widespread cancellation of gigs and events and festivals – including All Points East, The Isle Of Wight Festival and Download, Parklife, Lovebox and many more. Other events such as Live At Leeds and Liverpool Sound City have been rescheduled until later in the year. Primavera Sound 2020 has also been postponed, and has promised to update fans on line-up and refund details when “Spain opens up” and more clarity is available.
This weekend, a US health official made headlines with the claims that festivals and concerts might not be able to return until Autumn 2021.
NME has contacted Ticketmaster UK for comment.