Fair trading / Cancelled tickets, what to do?

“If a festival is cancelled, ticket holders may be entitled to a full refund from the company that sold them the ticket,” writes ACT Fair Trading Commissioner DAVID SNOWDEN.

AS temperatures rise and the days get longer, the music festival season gets into full swing across the country.

David Snowden.

However, even with the best event planning, sometimes things don’t work out how you expect. For instance, a few years ago, consumers were left out of pocket by the cancellation of almost 50 music festivals across Australia. More recently, extreme weather caused two concerts in NSW to be cancelled or postponed.

How can you protect yourself and what rights do you have?

Under Australian Consumer Law, a business cannot accept payment and then fail to deliver what was promised. So if a festival is cancelled, ticket holders may be entitled to a full refund from the company that sold them the ticket.

Even if the festival goes ahead but is significantly different from what was advertised, ticket holders may also have a right to a refund on the ground that they were misled or deceived. The new line-up may not be what they want to see and the investment on tickets may not have happened in the first place.

So, read the terms and conditions. Yep, the fine-print text spells out the terms. This is your contract with the ticketing agent. If you have suffered a financial loss due to a festival cancellation, such as cancelling your flights or accommodation, refer to the terms and conditions and contact your ticketing agent first.

Also keep a paper or electronic trail. It is safest to buy tickets via a secure online transaction with a reputable, authorised ticketing agent. In the case of something going wrong with the event, you will have electronic records of your purchase.

Consumers who buy tickets with a credit card may also be able to seek a chargeback from their bank if they are unsuccessful in obtaining a refund from the ticket seller.

Knowing what to do and when can go a long way towards successfully achieving a refund.

Here are some tips to protect you from unforeseen cancellations:

  • Do your research – know your rights.
  • Buy from a reputable ticket seller – read reviews online and talk to your friends and family.
  • Read the terms and conditions before you purchase tickets to see what you are entitled to.
  • Buy tickets online through a secure website (look for the https:)
  • Like any purchase, keep all related documentation and receipts.

Bring on those summer festival vibes!

David Snowden is the ACT Fair Trading commissioner.

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