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Consumer expert Amy Davis gives advice on dealing with ticket sellers canceling events while refusing refunds

HOUSTON – Current COVID-19 concerns caused the cancellation of hundreds of events and concerts. Now, many of those ticket holders are left waiting on refunds that may never come.

When Live Nation or Ticketmaster canceled shows and concerts, instead of using the word “canceled,” the ticket sellers said the events were just “postponed.” Once rescheduled, even if the customer cannot attend on the new date, the companies won’t always refund the ticket price.

Canceled concerts, refunds denied

It happened to Houstonian Phyllis Bailey. She purchased two tickets to see Gregory Porter and Ledisi at the Reinvention Music Center on March 24. Days before the concert, it was canceled. When Bailey contacted Live Nation to get a refund of the $222.14, a representative told her the show was simply postponed until August 11. Bailey didn’t want to commit to a concert so far in the future. She wanted her money back. Live Nation told her she could get a refund. She then turned to the Allianz Global Assistance, the insurance company she paid to protect her purchase in case she couldn’t go for some reason. Bailey filed a claim but after 11 days, Allianz denied it, citing its own policy that reads, “Your plan excludes coverage for losses due to an epidemic.”

Consumer groups demand refunds

“We think that’s wrong,” said John Breyault, VP of Public Policy for the National Consumers League. “We think companies like Ticketmaster should be giving customers refunds for their tickets definitely when they cancel a show, but if they postpone it, they should allow consumers to request refunds and get them automatically.”

When KPRC 2 called Live Nation, who owns Ticketmaster, a spokesperson directed us to this blog that explains the company’s convoluted policy concerning events that canceled, postponed and rescheduled.

“In effect, what we’re being told is that we need to give these companies a no-interest loan for some indefinite period rather than get our money back for a service they are unable to provide,” said Breyault.

KPRC 2 reached out to the Texas Attorney General’s office, but no one replied to our request for information on the legality of holding a customer’s money for an event that they could not attend.

If you find yourself in this same situation, Breyault said you should do these things:

  • Document everything. Keep notes of all of your communication with the ticket seller when you contact them to try to get your money back.
  • If they refuse to refund your money, file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
  • File a complaint with the National Consumers League at www.Fraud.org.
  • Dispute the charges with your credit card company. Depending on your cardholder, they may reverse the charge for you.