Ticketmaster, AEG will start offering refund options next month

Goliath blinked.  

All this week, concertgoers have been up in arms about Ticketmaster’s seeming change in policy, which sounded a lot like it wasn’t going to simply refund the purchase of a ticket for a show canceled due to coronavirus. 

But now, it seems, Ticketmaster is working on a way to give back what will doubtlessly be millions of dollars for shows that won’t go on as scheduled. 

Billboard reports that, starting May 1, once a show that has been listed as “postponed” but has been rescheduled, Ticketmaster will send an email to fans to initiate a refund. Fans will have 30 days to ask for a refund, unless they want to keep the ticket for the new date. 

“For canceled shows, refunds will be automatically processed within 30 days, unless fans voluntarily opt into other programs,” reads a statement Ticketmaster provided to Billboard. “Live Nation venues will offer fans an option to receive a 150% credit for the value of their ticket to be used for a future Live Nation show. Fans will also be able to donate the proceeds of their refund to a charity to give their concert tickets to health care workers, with Live Nation matching ticket donations.” 

That last part is also part of a trend: Trying to do right by those on the front lines and those who are directly losing out in light of these concert cancellations and postponements. Vivid Seats is offering a 10% donation to MusiCounts COVID-19 Relief Fund to help support artists who are losing their income because they can’t tour. 

It’s been a rough week. 

“Ticketmaster has already canceled or postponed 30,000 events representing $2 billion in ticket sales and another 25,000 events that are still scheduled to take place through the end of the year,” Billboard notes. “Ticketmaster is expecting some of those events will be postponed or canceled throughout the year and will begin offering refunds on a rolling basis.” 

For what it’s worth, it might be too little too late to escape the angry eyes and litigation urges of lawmakers. 

Already one man is suing StubHub, filing a class action lawsuit over the lack of a refund to a sporting event. 

Now a New York lawmaker is also considering filing suit, this time against Ticketmaster, for the company’s refund policy as explained and understood earlier this week. 

New York State Senator James Skoufis, who also chairs the state’s Investigations and Government Operations Committee, is “looking into the matter,” a spokesperson told the New York Times.  The state’s attorney general also said it had “independently received several complaints from ticketholders” about delays for refunds. 

Also announced Friday, AEG, another major concert promoter, will also start issuing refunds on May 1, for ticket holders who request them within 30 days of a rescheduled show’s newly announced date. 

“By some estimates, consumers have spent more than $1 billion on tickets to disrupted events,” tickets purchased before the world closed down, more or less, a month ago, the Times reports. 

New York State Senator Skoufis has asked the state’s Attorney General Letitia James, to examine refund and cancellation policies from ticket sellers and concert promoters. 

“Deceptively changing the language of refund policies and excluding postponed or rescheduled events are forms of corporate robbery,” Skoufis said. “Withholding billions of dollars that many now need to survive the pandemic is the antithesis of corporate social responsibility.” 

Unfortunately, even shows that are rescheduled now for later this year might not happen, as public health experts are suggesting shows might not return — at least, not the bigger ones — until later in 2021 or 2022. Not that anything’s set in stone at this point, of course. 

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

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