Ticket resale website Viagogo has been accused of not giving customers refunds on cancelled events, a claim the website denies.
Consumer rights and advice group Which? has released a report claiming Viagogo is denying buyers refunds on tickets for events that have been cancelled due to the pandemic.
The point of contention is whether or not an event has been cancelled or postponed to another date, as many festivals have done so they can avoid issuing complete refunds.
Viagogo is claiming some events have been postponed even as events like Reading & Leeds have been cancelled according to the organizers. Viagogo advises the consumer instead to relist the ticket on their website, where they will make up to a 25% commission on the sale from new buyers only. This could be difficult to recoup the original ticket price or even make a sale, especially when the event marketplace for next summer is still very murky and many consumers may need the money now.
One customer, Melissa Taylor, paid more than £270 for two tickets to the Wireless festival, an event that the organizer, Festival Republic, says has been cancelled.
However, Viagogo says she cannot get a refund because Festival Republic offers the ability to roll over the tickets to the next year. Festival Republic confirmed to The Guardian that Wireless and Reading & Leeds have been cancelled and they would be speaking to CMA about Viagogo’s behavior.
Which? accuses Viagogo of creating a “loophole” by not giving refunds when festivals offer these types of ticket deferments. If the festival defers to another year, as a means of survival, despite canceling the event this year, Viagogo still views this as a possible future event that the ticket buyer could attend and no refunds will be issued.
Viagogo denies the claims they aren’t giving refunds for cancelled events in a statement via The Guardian.
“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.
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.”
So know the risks of buying tickets right now of buying on the secondary market when events are being rescheduled and companies are tightening their policies on refunds.
A Viagogo has offered this additional statement.
"viagogo issue refunds for cancelled events, so what Which? is claiming is fundamentally inaccurate. Which? are describing customers who have tickets for postponed events. Tickets for postponed events are still valid and therefore customers are not entitled to a refund per our terms and conditions. This has always been our policy and predates the pandemic. We understand that event changes may be disappointing for customers however, they are always able to relist their tickets if they are unable to attend the new date."