how to claim refunds for cancelled concerts, sports fixtures and festivals  

Governments and health organisations around the world have cancelled concerts, sporting events and festivals in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

Most European countries including France, Switzerland and Italy announced strict bans on gatherings of people as the number of cases continues to rise.  

Boris Johnson has placed the entire country in a strict lockdown, with members of the public only  allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons.

A long list of sporting events have been called off. The European championship Euro 2020 has been postponed until next summer, several fixtures in the Six Nations have been cancelled, as was the first Formula 1 race in the calendar, the Australia Grand Prix. 

On the music scene, giant festivals including Glastonbury, Coachella and BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend have been axed this year. The organisers of Eurovision have also announced the show will not be going ahead this spring.  

The 2020 Olympics and Paralympics will be postponed for a year due to the pandemic. 

What does it mean for ticket-holders?

You are entitled to a refund if the organiser cancels, moves or reschedules the event, as long as you bought the ticket from an official seller, according to Citizens Advice.  The event organiser should tell you what steps to take to get your refund.  

You are unlikely to get your money back if you bought your ticket from a reselling or secondary ticketing website, a private seller or a fan-to-fan website. However, some websites such as StubHub are offering buyers a full refund if an event is cancelled.

You are not entitled to a refund if the event is still running and you decide not to go or realise that you can’t get there anymore. 

Ticket-holders can expect to get the face value of the ticket back but it is not likely they will receive a refund on postage, booking or card fees, Citizens Advice said. 

Sally Jaques, of price comparison website GoCompare, said that if the event is cancelled by the organiser, chances are you will be refunded automatically. 

‘It’s important to keep in close contact with the event organisers – so make sure you read any emails from them, check in on their social media accounts, and if in doubt, give them a call.”

If that doesn’t work, you can check if you can get your money back from your card company, she said.

For those who purchased their tickets using a credit card, they may be able to claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, Mrs Jaques added. The section is a legal act that protects you when you spend on your credit card but the value of the ticket must be over £100 and can be up to £30,000 for a claim to be made.

However, you won’t be able to claim in this way if you purchased the tickets through a third-party site like eBay or a ticket reseller, or if you’re an additional cardholder, according to GoCompare.

“In short, there are options available to you if the event is cancelled. For now, though, just follow the advice of the organisers, plus any government advice relating to travel,” she said.

If you booked with a debit card, Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert at money.co.uk, said you may be able to make a claim using the Chargeback scheme. This  gives people a chance of getting their money back from their bank if a service has not been provided. 

Mr Haqqi said: “You should be entitled to a refund. The company you bought your ticket from could either offer you a refund or the option of a ticket to a rescheduled date.”   

Those having trouble getting their refund can check if the ticket seller is a member of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR). Members should be refunded if the event is cancelled and the organiser has agreed to give a refund. If they refuse, you can use STAR’s complaints procedure, according to Citizens Advice. 

If you have to cancel a trip where an event you were planning on attending is called off, it is unlikely you will be covered by travel insurers, said Stuart Lloyd, travel insurance expert at Columbus Direct. 

Mr Lloyd said: “This approach is unlikely to be any different where events are being called off due to attempts to limit the spread of Covid-19.

“Therefore, unless your travel insurance policy specifically provides cover for event cancellation, your travel insurer is unlikely to accept a claim for any losses, unless the event was due to take place in a country that the FCO advises against travelling to, and the policy provides cover against cancellation for that reason.”

Jan Carton, of Citizens Advice, said to keep checking the information from the official seller or organiser to ensure you’re up to date. 

Ms Carton also warned that people need to be on the lookout for scammers. “If your event is cancelled and people or companies offer their services to try to recover money on your behalf, make sure that you’re looking out for the signs of a potential scam.”