Ticket sales - Pricing – additional charges not clear
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If you believe the price information to be unclear or incorrect, you should consider the cause. For example, it is often because additional charges such as booking, postage or credit cards fees are not detailed alongside with the ticket price when they are promoted.
There are regulations that do cover unreasonable ticket charges, such as Unfair Trading Regulations (2008). All fees must be clearly displayed and disclosed at the outset when the ticket price is displayed by the seller.
There are no regulations that cover what administration or booking fees should be. Remember that it is rare for the ticket seller to keep any money from the ticket price; these charges are business running costs.
You should know
- When purchasing a ticket for an event, ensure that the company you are buying from is a member of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR). This is the industry body that regulates ticket sales.
- If the event is cancelled or the date changed, you have the right to a refund for the tickets you bought. However, unless you bought them as a package with your tickets, you cannot get money back for accommodation or travel.
- The ticket company’s fees and charges should be clear when you purchase the ticket, including any credit or debit card fees.
- When purchasing tickets, ensure that you buy from a reputable site. Take a look at the Safe Concerts website before buying.
These rights cover tickets bought for concerts, events, sports matches or other similar events, and detail how to handle and resolve your issue.
If the event that you were going to attend is cancelled, you are entitled to a full refund of the face value of the ticket. This does not necessarily include any booking fees that you might have incurred.
If you paid less than the value of the ticket – for example if you received a discount – you are only entitled to a refund of that discounted amount.
If an event is rescheduled by the organisers, your tickets are still valid. The organisers should make you aware of the rescheduling by giving you reasonable notice – 14 days can be considered reasonable. If you missed the concert because you did not receive the notification, or you cannot make the new date, you are entitled to a refund of the cost of your ticket.
This will be the face value of the ticket or, if lower than the face value, the amount that you paid. You will not be entitled to a refund of your booking fee.
Tickets did not arrive in time
If there is the possibility that your tickets will not arrive in time for the event, call the ticket company using the Resolver app and record your call. Be sure to explain the situation, because it might be possible to have the sent tickets cancelled and for you to collect new ones at the venue.
When you buy tickets you have made a contract between you and the seller, which means that they are obliged to get the tickets to you in time.
Changing your tickets
If you want to change your tickets, bear in mind that there are no regulations that cover ticket-amendment charges.
Credit/debit card fees
There are regulations that cover unreasonable ticket charges, such as Unfair Trading Regulations (2008). All fees must be clearly displayed and disclosed at the outset when the ticket price is displayed by the seller. There are no regulations that cover what administration or booking fees should be.
Booking fees – what are these?
It is now normal to be charged an additional fee when you purchase tickets. The reason for this is that an agent selling the ticket is unlikely to receive any money from the face price.
These additional fees - which are usually a booking and postage charge - are in place to cover the seller’s running costs.
Booking fee refunds for cancellations
Whether you will receive a booking fee refund depends on both the circumstances - for example, if the event was cancelled – and the seller’s terms and conditions. It is unlikely that the latter will permit a refund of the seller’s fees.
As a further example: if an event is cancelled, Ticketmaster will refund the cost of postage if the tickets have not been sent out, while other firms - such as Seetickets – will not.
It is important to consider these issues when you buy your tickets.
Unless you have booked your accommodation and travel as a package, you cannot claim back these costs back if the event is cancelled or the date changed.
You cannot attend
If you can no longer attend an event, but it wasn’t because the event was cancelled or the date changed, it is unlikely that you will be able to get a refund. You might be able to sell the tickets through a website such as Gumtree or eBay, but you should carefully check the terms and conditions on the tickets beforehand.
How to buy tickets
When buying tickets you should consider purchasing them by credit card if possible. If you do, your credit card company is jointly liable under section 75 of the consumer credit act if anything goes wrong.
If the company goes out of business, you can apply to your credit card company for a refund.
If you are not admitted to the event
If when you arrive at an event you are denied entry, you need to understand why. Check the terms on your tickets or booking. These could include:
- A dress code that you have not adhered to;
- Health and safety legislation that you have broken if you are too drunk;
- A belief that your ticket has been resold, if the ticket says no resale;
- That your ticket is a counterfeit.
If the reason for refusing you permission is not within the term and conditions, you can argue that the venue/organisers have broken your contract with them and you can demand a refund.
In these cases, you should take the issue up with the venue rather than the ticket agent, unless they are the same.
When buying tickets
When purchasing a ticket for an event, ensure that the company you are buying from is a member of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR). This is the industry body that regulates ticket sales.
Buying a ticket from a consumer
If you are buying a ticket from a member of the public, you have no rights when it comes to ensuring that the ticket arrives in time, or if the seller is genuine. However, eBay’s Stubhub service guarantees that tickets will arrive on time and will be for the correct event, and that you will be permitted access.
Beware of illegal ticket sites
Keep an eye out for illegal ticket websites, and where possible purchase tickets from a recognised site. You can search the internet for reviews of the website. You should also make sure that the firm has an address that isn’t a PO box number, and a contact phone number that isn’t for a mobile.
You can use websites such as www.safeconcerts.com to research a website. Check that it has the red, black and white kite mark provided by the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) with the words ‘secure tickets from authorised retailers’.
Quality of the Venue
If when you attend an event you have trouble seeing or hearing the performance, you should consider whether reasonable care and skill have gone into the presentation of the sound and/or vision. If the sound is below that which you would normally experience at an event, you could argue that it has not been presented with reasonable care or skill.
If you feel that reasonable care or skill were not taken, you should contact the venue or organiser to make a complaint and ask for a partial or full refund.
If the seats allocated to you were not what you expected, you should raise the issue immediately before the event or during an interval.
If you were sold the tickets on the basis that you might have a partial view, and this is the case, it is not reasonable to complain. However, if you were sold front-row seats and your allocated seats are at the back, you do have a reason to complain. You can ask for a partial or full refund, depending on the situation.
Event was shorter than expected
Not all tickets will state the ending time of the event; unless an ending time is stated, it is difficult to argue than an event was shorter than you expected. If there was a set ending time and the event finished early, you should consider whether there was a good reason, such as the onset of poor weather.
If there was no good reason for an event ending earlier that you expected, you could make a claim for loss of enjoyment, because the event was not as described or as expected.
Expected act did not appear
If you booked an event and a certain act did not appear as you had expected, you are unlikely to be able to get a refund. You could explain there has been a loss of enjoyment, but the ticket terms and conditions will usually mention the organiser’s or venue’s ability to change or amend acts with little or no notice.
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