We are fast approaching the warmer months here in Australia, and music festivals and outdoor events are always a popular choice for many during this time of the year. However, what happens if the festival you have purchased tickets for is cancelled due tounforeseen circumstances?
When purchasing a ticket for a festival, you are entering into a contract with the ticket provider (‘provider’), and your ticket is issued subject to certain terms and conditions of the contract. These are usually given to you prior tofinalising the agreement to purchase the tickets, and are often printed on the back of the physical ticket, once issued.
Providers may try to stipulate in their terms and conditions that they are unable to refund the monies paid for the ticket if the event is cancelled for whatever reason (including incumbent weather) or a major change to the event occurs (e.g. the lead act will not be performing) . However, they are not able to waive their responsibilities to consumers under the Australian Consumer Law (‘ACL’), and depending on the circumstances, you may in fact be entitled to a refund of your monies paid to purchase the ticket.
Essentially, under the Australian Consumer Law (‘ACL’), if a business/provider fails to deliver a product or service as advertised(which would likely be the case if the event or festival was cancelled or the headline act pulled out) then, as a result,consumers are entitled to seek a refund of the purchase price. You may also be entitled to seek compensation for any out of pocket expenses you have incurred as a result of the cancellation, including but not limited to accommodation and flights (if you needed to travel to attend the event).
It is important that you hold onto all of your receipts and purchase details so that if something goes wrong, you have all of the relevant documentation to hand.
If an event for which you have tickets for is cancelled (or there is a major change to the event), then the first step would be to speak to the service provider from whom you purchased the tickets and explain that you would like a refund.
However, if you find you are having difficulty with the provider or their agent, or they are refusing to provide you with a refund, you should then contact your bank (if you paid via credit card) paypal (if you paid via this method) or if you paid via a different channel, that payment channel to see if they can organise a chargeback on your account.
If you are unsuccessful in obtaining a chargeback to your account, you can also contact the Office of Fair Trading in your relevant State to discuss the providers breach of the ACL and see what options are available to you to obtain a refund.
Of course, before purchasing a ticket to an event in the first instance, it is a good idea to make sure that you are purchasing your tickets from a reputable source, via a secure method. We have provided you with some handy tips below which may assist in reducing the risk of not being able to obtain a refund, should something go wrong with an event you are purchasing tickets for.
Prior to purchasing a ticket
- Ensure sure you are using an authorised seller – obtain referrals from friends or family as to the company they have used before, search for reviews of the provider and seek feedback from previous customers;
- Is it a secure site?- Ensure that the site you are inputting your credit card details into is secure (denoted by having an ‘s’ at the end of ‘https’ in the toolbar). This will ensure your credit card information is encrypted and secure;
- Have you consider Paypal? Using Paypal assists with keeping your credit card details secure and further, you are covered by Buyer Protection (for eligible purchases);
- Is the Provider a member of Live Performance Australia? Visit the Live Performance Australia (LPA) has a handy guide to ticketing and the ticketing code of practice at the link below if you are interested in further information:
- Beware of purchasing tickets from unauthorised sellers (eg. Scalpers) as the LPA can enforce conditions that limit your rights against the organiser if you have purchased tickets this way, and the organiser may also have the right to cancel your tickets to the event with no recourse available to you;
- ASIC and ABN Search- If the provider is claiming to be a registered company or business, undertake a free search on the Australian Securities & Investments Commission site or Australian Business Number lookup website to ensure they are registered;
- Terms and Conditions- Read all of the terms and conditions carefully before purchasing to ensure there are no hidden fees or charges, or ongoing membership fees (pay particular attention to boxes which are automatically ticked);
- Tracking delivery of the physical tickets- If you choose to have your tickets sent in the mail, always select registered post so that you can track their delivery in case they go missing.
As always, if you require any assistance with a service provider or need legal advice regarding your rights in relation to a refund, please contact our friendly team of Gold Coast Lawyers on 07 5563 8970.