A summer of events
21/06/16 Euro 2016, Glastonbury kicking off festival season and Wimbledon: at this time of year, many of us will be heading off to one event or another. And you’ll be paying through the nose for the privilege, most likely.
So you’ll be fervently hoping nothing goes wrong with your Big Day Out. But what if it gets cancelled? Or rescheduled? Or you simply can’t make it?
Who do you complain to?
First off, it’s important to remember that you need to complain to the event organiser rather than the venue if you have an issue with an event. It may be that the venue is also the event organiser, but usually the venue will have been rented specifically for the event.
If a member of the Society of Ticket Agent Retailers (STAR) sold you the ticket to the event, the company is obliged to refund the cost of the ticket. However, booking fees and postage costs are not covered in the refund. Some organisers may refund these costs but it is not included in the STAR code.
These guidelines were drawn up by the Office for Fair Trading to ensure the terms are not unfair to the consumer.
If the event is rescheduled, then your rights are similar to if an event is cancelled. If you cannot attend the new date or time set for the event, you can apply for a refund, but once again excluding the cost of postage and booking fees.
If the tickets have not yet been sent to you when the event is cancelled, whilst it is not covered by the code, it is reasonable to ask that the postage costs be refunded, as the company has not yet incurred these costs.
The event goes bust
If the event goes bust, then what happens? Sadly, if the event organiser or the firm that sold you the ticket goes bust, then there is little that you can do as there is no one to contact in order to apply for a refund.
If an event starts much later than scheduled, you might have to leave before the end of the event, meaning you might have to leave before the end of the event due to booked travel. Sadly, in this instance you are not entitled to a refund as the event took place and therefore the contract was honoured. You could still try for a refund or a partial refund, but the promoter is not legally bound to give you a refund.
You cannot attend an event any longer
If you can no longer attend the event you are not entitled to a refund. You can request a refund but it is very unlikely that you will receive one. The best course of action is to sell your tickets to friends, on Gumtree or eBay to try and recover your costs.
What if the agent is not a member of STAR?
If the agent or your booking agent is not a member of STAR, then you should contact your local Trading Standards Office. The normal route will now be via the Citizens Advice Bureau who will raise the issue for you.
The STAR code does not include refunding the cost of transport, hotels etc. These costs are your responsibility.
For hotel bookings, any refund will depend on their terms and conditions if the booking is flexible. In the unlikely event that you have insurance, you may be able to reclaim using your policy.
The headline act is changed
What if the headline act that you are expecting to see is changed without any prior warning? Your rights will depend on the act and the event. If you are attending a music festival with lots of musical acts, then you will not be able to claim a refund. If the event was one act, which you specifically wanted to see, then it is reasonable to apply for a refund.
What else can you do if the event is cancelled?
If the event is cancelled what else can you do? If it is a local gig tell your friends by publishing on Facebook so as many people know as possible. You may also want to inform the local newspaper.