Ticketmaster says it plans to reimburse customers who purchased tickets to concerts or events that have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement came after the ticket sales company was reprimanded by Democratic Reps. Katie Porter of California and Bill Pascrell of New Jersey for refusing to issue refunds to customers for events that have been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus. In the scathing letter to Live Nation and Ticketmaster, the lawmakers said Americans are weathering a global crisis and the decision to “confiscate their money is reprehensible.”
In a response letter, though, Ticketmaster’s president Jared Smith explains that the ticket sales company has been working on a plan to make sure customers get their refunds.
“Let me start by assuring you that Ticketmaster, with the support of our clients, intends to honor our longstanding practice of allowing refunds on canceled or postponed shows,” Smith wrote.
Beginning May 1, once a show sets new dates, those who purchased tickets will receive emails from Ticketmaster to initiate a full refund, according to Billboard. Customers will have 30 days to request a refund or their ticket will be valid for the rescheduled date. If you are a ticket holder, you should receive an email at that time that lays out your options.
The policy is outlined on Live Nation, which merged with Ticketmaster in 2010 to become Live Nation Entertainment. It goes on to explain that if 60 days has passed since a show was postponed and no rescheduled dates are announced, the 30-day window for refunds will open.
In addition, if you have tickets to a show that is outright cancelled, you can get either a full refund or a credit for 150% of your purchase (including fees) toward a future event. If you pick the credit option, Live Nation will donate one ticket to a healthcare worker through its Hero Nation program for every ticket you originally purchased.
Smith acknowledged in his response to lawmakers that fans are understandably frustrated and confused as live events and concerts are being canceled and rescheduled.
He said that the ticket sales company does not have the cash on hand to immediately refund customers. Ticketmaster sends money to event organizers on a weekly basis as tickets are sold, he explained.
“For the 30,000 events that have already been postponed or canceled as a result of COVID-19, we have already sent more than $2 billion to event organizers, making it impossible to issue refunds to fans before recouping sales receipts from the organizers, as we’ve done in the past,” Smith said.
Billboard reports that Ticketmaster’s previous silence on the topic has been a result of ongoing negotiations with its venue and promoter clients over thousands of tour deals; those clients have the final say over whether refunds are offered.
As of March 1, there were more than 55,000 events scheduled to take place by the end of 2020, according to Ticketmaster. While promoters are working to reschedule sports, concerts, Broadway shows and other events, it’s a difficult task because there’s no timeline yet to determine when large-scale public events will resume.
Until that happens, Billboard has a round-up of all the concerts and live streams that are happening virtually so you can continue to rock on.
Have any of your summer concert plans been canceled or postponed?