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Refund backlash leads Ticketmaster to change policy for postponed events

Ticket holders of events that have not rescheduled dates for postponed or outright canceled events are potentially on the hook for their tickets.
tickets in hand

PHOENIX — Ticketmaster recently found itself in some hot water after quietly changing their refund policy to no longer offer full refunds for postponed or rescheduled events, only offering refunds to events that have been formally cancelled.

This didn't sit well with many customers who purchased tickets to events that have either been postponed or rescheduled amid the impact of COVID-19.

According to a statement from Ticketmaster President Jared Smith, "As of March 1, there were over 55,000 events on our systems scheduled to take place between March 1 and the end of 2020."

Of the 55,000 events, 30,000 have reportedly been postponed or canceled as a result of COVID-19 concerns.

"Of those 30,000 events already impacted, over 12,000 have already been canceled and we are actively issuing refunds to every one of the purchasers of those events," Smith continued.

Ticketmaster is coordinating with organizers on rescheduling options for the remaining 14,000 events and says that Live Nation and AEG have begun the process of refunding all events and will continue to do so on a rolling basis.

Beginning May 1, once a postponed event announces a new date, Ticketmaster ticket-holders can begin the refund process after receiving a notification via email. Upon email notification, the ticket-holder will have just 30 days to request a refund, otherwise the ticket will be applied to the rescheduled date.

Ticket holders will have additional options as well. They can can choose to receive a $150 credit for canceled or postponed shows to be applied toward a future Live Nation venue show, donate their refund amount to a charity, or give their ticket to a health care worker. According to Live Nation, they will also match ticket donations.

The caveat with Ticketmaster's refund policy is that many events scheduled for late summer and beyond have not yet canceled or rescheduled their tours, despite postponing shows. This leaves ticket-holders exposed and potentially on the hook for the cost of the ticket with no refund.

"Let me start by assuring you that Ticketmaster, with the support of our clients, intend to honor our longstanding practice of allowing refunds on canceled or postponed shows," Smith said. "We know fans are eager to return to live events, and collectively share in experiences with their favorite artists, athletes and actors. We need time to manage through so we are all in a position for that to become a reality, and we look forward to the day when we can come together again."

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