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Events – What are my rights?

The UK government has banned any gathering of more than two people, with the exception of funerals, to fight the spread of coronavirus.

My event has been cancelled, what are my rights?

If you bought your tickets directly from the event organiser or primary ticket retailers, for example, Ticketmaster, they are required by the industry’s self-regulatory body, the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (“STAR”), to refund the ticket’s face value price when an event is cancelled. This only covers the ticket’s face value, so no refund on booking fees and no refunds on the delivery costs.

If you purchased tickets from a secondary ticket seller, for example, Viagogo or StubHub, you will need to check the terms and conditions on their website; some do offer some protection. However you bought your tickets, you will need to contact the company that sold them to you and request a refund, it is unlikely that anyone, at the moment, will automatically offer one.

It has also been reported that some sites such as Ticketmaster are changing their terms to make it harder to get a refund, your legal rights will still remain the same.

My event has been postponed, what are my rights?

Keep hold of your tickets until a new date is announced. If you’re unable to attend the rescheduled date, you can claim a refund of the ticket’s face-value price. But it’s unlikely you’ll get any refund on the delivery costs or the booking fees.

If you purchased tickets from a secondary ticket seller, you will have less protection. Check the terms and conditions, usually they can be found on their website. If you cannot attend the new date you may be entitled to a refund but in reality, it may be that the only realistic way to recover your money will be to re-sell the ticket to someone who can make it.

My event has been cancelled or postponed, can I claim back hotel and travel costs?

If they have been booked as part of a package along with the event tickets (for example, a concert with accommodation included), then speak to the ‘tour operator’, you are entitled to a refund.

If you’ve arranged these separately to the event, get in touch with the companies you’ve booked with. They might be able to refund you or re-book your plans for a later date, but there are no guarantees and, unless that form of transport has been cancelled or the hotel is shut, you should be entitled to a refund. At the moment, if it is a UK event and it occurs in the “lock-down” period, we are of the view that you should be entitled to a refund.

If you have used Airbnb or similar, then you will need to check the terms and conditions of your booking to determine whether a refund is appropriate. Our view, at the moment, is that if this occurs whilst the UK is in “lock-down”, you should be entitled to a refund, but many companies are reluctant to give you one and you may have to fight for it.

If you have appropriate travel insurance, you might be able to claim back the entire cost of your trip.

I was having a big party and now we are told we can’t do it, what are my rights?

All parties booked in the next few weeks are cancelled following the Government’s announcement banning all public gatherings of more than two people, with the exception of funerals.

We would suggest that you should speak to the venue and any suppliers you have for that event. Try and negotiate a way forward, for example, if it’s possible and is acceptable to you, agree a new date.

If the venue or supplier cancels, you will be entitled to a refund for what has been cancelled.

If you have insurance, speak to your provider and check the terms and conditions of your policy to determine exactly what is covered.

If you cancel or postpone, then it’s on you as you have cancelled and you are not entitled to a refund. If you want a chance of getting your money back, cancellation may not be the best option as usually, you would be responsible for any fees already paid and usually the shorter the notice the higher the fee. This can be quite a difficult path to tread successfully as many venues will attempt to persuade you to re-arrange the date or suggest that it is you that is cancelling. It is worth noting that if any monies you have paid over are described as a deposit, then it cannot be ‘nonrefundable’. If a business keeps your money, ask for a breakdown and details of why it can’t be refunded.

Get your money back by other means. If your claim is ignored or refused by the ticketing company, you should contact your bank or credit card company (if you paid using a credit card). Make them aware of your experience and the complaint you’ve made. If you paid by credit card, if you’ve bought anything worth more than £100 and less than £30,000 using your credit card, you have additional protections if something goes wrong. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act makes your credit card company jointly liable for any breach of contract (such as an event cancellation) and you can claim your money back directly from it. If you paid by debit card, you can ask your card provider to reverse a transaction on your credit or debit card in a process called Chargeback. Unlike Section 75, Chargeback isn’t a right or a law and offers no guarantees, but it is a way your bank may be able to help you. Chargeback is also particularly useful where the cost of the ticket(s) was under £100 and Section 75 doesn’t apply.

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