Swarms of people are now accusing Ticketmaster of conveniently changing its refund policy in response to show cancelations and postponements due to the coronavirus.
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The New York Times and other outlets report, the major ticket distribution company altered its language online to say it would only issue refunds if a customer’s event is canceled. Originally its online refund page read, “Refunds are available if your event is postponed, rescheduled or canceled.”
Needless to say, people did not take the change well.
Ticketmaster stated that although its wording regarding refunds has changed, “its underlying refund policy has not changed,” the Times reports.
This underlying policy states Ticketmaster acts at the discretion of event organizers, who “generally prohibit us from issuing exchanges or refunds after a ticket has been purchased or for lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed tickets.”
“We are focused on supporting organizers as they work to determine venue availability, new dates and refund policies, while rescheduling thousands of events in what continues to be an evolving situation,” Ticketmaster said in a statement provided to the Times.
Joe Berchtold, president of Live Nation Entertainment, which owns Ticketmaster, told CNBC “that in order for Ticketmaster to issue refunds it needs to work with the event venues, but those venues are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.”
Despite Ticketmaster’s assurance about there being no underlying policy change, the threat of lawsuits against the company has intensified online.
Many artists have now relegated to showcasing their talents online through platforms such as Instagram, Vox reports, in light of closed venues and canceled shows.
The music industry could lose about $9 billion in revenue this year due to COVID-19, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Berchtold told CNBC about 90% of impacted shows are being rescheduled and 10% have been canceled, with refunds having been issued for canceled shows.
Update 3:03pm CT, April 15: In a statement to the Daily Dot, Ticketmaster said more than 30,000 events have been impacted by the COVID-19.
“As of today, over 11,000 events, including over 4,000 postponed sports, concerts and arts events, have already authorized refunds,” the statement said. “While we cannot guarantee all event organizers will offer refunds on their rescheduled events, we anticipate the vast majority will make a refund window available once new dates have been determined. In addition, Ticketmaster continues to issue refunds for all cancelled events.”