Because of the coronavirus, we’re not going to concerts.
But many performers and the ticket companies that manage their shows have been acting as if we are.
While people struggle to pay bills, entertainment companies like Live Nation and AEG had been clinging to old refund policies or modifying existing ones so they could hold onto your ticket money even longer.
They’ve done this by not officially canceling concerts, but instead only declaring them “postponed.”
While those companies have in the last couple of weeks modified their refund policies under pressure from state and federal lawmakers, it’s clear that legislation is needed to protect consumers from having to wait too long for their money when concerts are canceled or postponed.
And it’s clear that state and federal officials need to continue investigating how these companies are dealing with our money.
What prompted government intervention was a large number of people finding out they couldn’t get refunds for certain concerts that had technically only been postponed, not canceled.
A policy change in March by Ticketmaster to only offer refunds on canceled concerts prompted a call for a state attorney general investigation into its refund policies. Members of Congress also piped in, and all that outrage compelled companies to change their policies.
According to Rolling Stone, AEG now will give ticket holders 30 days to request a full refund to shows that have already been rescheduled with solidified dates. Tickets for shows that have been postponed — but do not yet have publicly confirmed replacement dates — will not be eligible for refunds until new dates are announced, Rolling Stone reported.
With Live Nation, if your event was canceled, you will be automatically get a refund. If your event has been postponed, tickets will be valid for the new date. If you then want a refund, you have 30 days to request it, starting from the announcement of the new show date, according to the Vulture website.
For more details on specific company policies, visit their respective websites.
How long customers waiting for concerts to be rescheduled will have to wait for their refunds is unknown. If you’re one of those fans, you have no recourse but to wait. That’s not right.
Customers need more government protection so they can get their money back when they feel they’re not getting what they paid for.
Even though these entertainment companies changed their policies in response to political pressure, there’s nothing stopping them from changing their policies again later.
Ticket buyers shouldn’t have to bombard the government with complaints and jump through hoops, and legislators shouldn’t have to make threats, for consumers to their own money back.
The state Senate Investigation and Government Operations Committee needs to continue its investigation into ticket company policies to ensure they’re fair and that they put consumers above corporate profits.
And the state Legislature and Congress need to pass more clear and consistent legislation to make sure such a situation doesn’t arise again.