Tickets website Viagogo should make it easier for festival goers to obtain refunds for events which are not going ahead as planned, according to Which?
With many events having been put off due to the coronavirus pandemic, the consumer group said it has heard from disgruntled Viagogo customers who have experienced difficulties getting refunds for cancelled events.
Some organisers of cancelled events have offered customers the option to transfer tickets to 2021 – but are also offering refunds to those who may not be able to make the event next year, or who may not want to attend a festival with a completely different line-up of artists.
But the consumer group said that some customers with tickets to cancelled events had been refused refunds, and Viagogo has not offered the same rights to customers who booked their tickets to the same events through the secondary ticket site.
Which? said Viagogo’s policy terms state if an event organiser offers tickets or vouchers to another event, customers will be entitled to those tickets or vouchers.
But the consumer group said that some customers with tickets to rescheduled events had been refused refunds, even if they were unable to make the new date.
Customers it has heard from include Gordon Scott, who said he was refused a refund after buying tickets for Leeds Festival to see Rage Against the Machine.
Which? said Viagogo had claimed the event has been postponed, but Mr Scott said the tickets were “useless” to him if Rage Against the Machine were not playing again.
Mr Scott has since been refunded but told Which? he had spent hours chasing the matter up.
He suspected others may not have the “tenacity to hound them like we did”.
Which? also heard from a woman who had bought Wireless Festival tickets but said Viagogo had declined to refund her on the basis that customers have the option to carry over their tickets.
Which? said Viagogo told it: “Tickets for these particular events carry over and are valid for the event in 2021, so as per our terms and conditions the customer is not entitled to a refund in this situation.”
The consumer group said Festival Republic, the organisers of Wireless, Reading and Leeds Festivals, had told it that their events had been cancelled rather than postponed.
Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert, said: “The secondary ticketing site must follow the stance taken by festival organisers and simply refund those who have tickets to an event cancelled due to coronavirus.”
A statement from Viagogo given to Which? said: “This is an unprecedented time for the live events industry, and we understand that customers might be left disappointed by the fact that thousands of events globally are being postponed, rescheduled or cancelled.
“Our customer service teams are working hard to confirm the status of all events and contact customers to inform them of any changes.
“If an event is rescheduled, the customer’s tickets remain valid, per our terms and conditions, and therefore they are not entitled to a refund.
“The customer always has the option of relisting their tickets on the platform if they can no longer attend the new date.
“If an event is completely cancelled the customer is entitled to a cash refund or 125% voucher. In the case of refunds, we appreciate our customers’ patience while we process their request.
“Any ticket restrictions are clearly labelled at the top of our website. We disagree with such restrictions and think they are not beneficial to fans. We would welcome the opportunity to work directly with event organisers so that fans get maximum access to events, which we believe should be the ultimate goal of everyone in the industry.”