With nearly every concert and festival becoming postponed or canceled amid the coronavirus, the live music industry has come to a screeching halt and left ticketholders with boundless disappointment… and less money. Some festivals and artists, like SXSW, are offering a full ticket exchange for an upcoming iteration of the event. But others don’t have a clear policy. Unfortunately, it looks as though some may never receive the money they purchased a ticket for before the onset of the pandemic. Ticketmaster has quietly changed its refund policy at the expense of buyers who are experiencing an event change due to the coronavirus.
Without warning, Ticketmaster updated the policy section of their website. As pointed out by the New York Times, the ticketing company had previously indicated that “refunds are available if your event is postponed, rescheduled or canceled, with the only exception reserved for MLB games and US Open events.” However, amid cancelations and postponements due to the pandemic, Ticketmaster changed their policy’s language. Now, refunds are no longer available for events that have been postponed, only canceled.
Ticketmaster addressed the policy change in a statement after facing backlash, saying they are taking the “evolving situation” of the pandemic into account: “In the past, with a routine volume of event interruptions, we and our event organizers have been able to consistently offer more flexibility with refunds for postponed and rescheduled events. However, considering the currently unprecedented volume of affected events, 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.”
Ticketholders and live music fans were outraged by the policy modification and took to Twitter to share their displeasure.
Us: Are we getting refunds for the tickets we purchased ?
Stubhub & Ticketmaster: pic.twitter.com/P9UfDsxXHA
— Obsessed Dodgers Fan (@MoreDodgerBlues) April 14, 2020
Ticketmaster: seems like a good time to quietly change our refunds policy. I'm sure we'll get away with it.
— Hire Write Talent (@hire_write) April 14, 2020
— Katie Padilla (@katie_padilla) April 14, 2020
This wouldn’t be the first time Ticketmaster has found themselves in hot water. In 2018, a private investigation found Ticketmaster does nothing to stop the practice of ticket scalping. The investigation caused the ticketing giant to face several class-action lawsuits. Furthermore, at the end of last year, the Justice Department announced it would begin taking legal action against Live Nation, Ticketmaster’s parent company, over its practice of strong-arming venues into using their services.