With tours being grounded left and right due to the pandemic, concert-goers are now looking to their ticket retailers for refunds. However, they just might be met with more questions than answers. As Digital Music News points out, Ticketmaster has quietly changed its refund policy, and the new language used could spell trouble for fans hoping to get their money back.
Ticketmaster’s previous policy 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, the page was recently updated with new language which says only canceled events are eligible for refunds, and not “postponed or rescheduled” ones.
Update, April 17th: Ticketmaster has unveiled a new refund policy for postponed concerts and events. Ticket-holders will have 30 days after the postponement to ask for a refund or 150% credit. Otherwise, the ticket will be transferred to the new event. Find full details on the policy here.
Ticketmaster doesn’t explicity address the change anywhere on its refunds page; instead, a separate policy page offers tips to those holding tickets to a postponed or rescheduled event.
“If an event organizer is offering refunds for postponed or rescheduled events, a refund link will appear on your Ticketmaster account,” the page reads. “Otherwise, you are encouraged to periodically check back online to see if the status of their event has changed.”
The retailer also encourages fans who can no longer attend a rescheduled event to sign up and sell their tickets on Ticketmaster’s resale marketplace, which has had its own fair share of controversy. Coincidentally, this new policy page appears to have been published March 12th — the same exact day parent company Live Nation announced it would be halting all of its imminent tours.
In a statement to the New York Times, Ticketmaster acknowledged that it altered its website in light of the coronavirus, but maintained that its underlying refund policy has not changed.
“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,” Ticketmaster said. “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.”
The tricky language used by Ticketmaster may leave fans confused, and even worse, out of luck. Countless artists have had to adjust their tour plans last minute, but there seems to be a blurry line between what’s technically canceled vs. what’s indefinitely postponed. Artists such as Tool, Billie Eilish, and Justin Bieber have postponed their tours for the time being, but have yet to announce any rescheduled dates. Elton John, meanwhile, has postponed his massive farewell tour, but there’s at least an indication that it will be back on track come 2021. As for the Foo Fighters, they both postponed and rescheduled their tour plans all in the span of just a few weeks.
By changing its language to only honor officially canceled events, Ticketmaster is limiting its financial exposure. Unfortunately, that means ticket-holders are the ones left shouldering the costs.
This is just the latest blow to not only the live music industry, but avid concert-goers. Earlier today, a health expert warned that concerts likely won’t return until fall 2021.
We’ve reached out to Ticketmaster representatives for formal comment.