Whether it’s a coffee morning at your local church, a football match or a huge stadium gig, unfortunately if it was due to happen in the next couple of months, it’s probably been cancelled or postponed.
First of all, I’m sorry – you’re allowed to be sad and annoyed. Secondly, the organisers will be gutted too, and they’ll be doing what they can to make any events that can happen, happen. This might mean that some venues or organisers can’t tell you yet whether or not your event will be cancelled. Please bear with them – they’ll be waiting on the latest government advice on when things might start to return to normal, and when the venues might open again, so if your event is more than a few weeks away, chances are they’re holding off in the hope they don’t have to cancel it at all.
The good news is that if it is cancelled, you shouldn’t lose out. Most events will try to reschedule and transfer your tickets, and if you can’t make a rescheduled date, you should get a refund as they’re not delivering the service you paid for.
There are some exceptions to this – for instance, some events (big races, like the World Marathon Majors are a prime example of this), might have it tied into their terms and conditions that if you can’t make a rescheduled date, you lose your fee or have to pay either an admin fee or your entry fee again to defer to a future year. And I’m afraid it was probably in the Terms & Conditions that you accepted when you paid your entry fee, so have agreed to it even though it’s not ideal.
But those events are the minority. For most gigs, festivals, and exhibitions, you should get a ticket transfer or refund.
One thing to note is that you might not get any associated fees back – a booking agent like SEE Tickets, Ticketmaster, Eventbrite or Tickets Scotland will typically add anything from 10%-15% of the ticket price for their service. We all hate booking fees, but they’re a necessary evil as they cover the cost of the ticket agent providing a website and ticket hotline, taking the order, managing the process, securely hosting your data, and providing customer service via phone line or web chat.
If an event is cancelled, the ticket agent is not obligated to return your fees to you, as they have fulfilled their part of the bargain by selling you the ticket, sending it to you and providing these support services. However, in unprecedented times like these, the organisers will try to persuade them to refund the fees, so you might get lucky.
As for timings, bigger organisers and ticket agents might be able to refund your tickets quickly, but if it takes a while, again, we apologise and appreciate your patience. For a venue that has music 5 nights a week, they might be issuing refunds on a scale they’ve never even considered before, and they might be on skeleton staff now everything’s closed so it could take a little longer than hoped.
But the good news is, you should get your money back, or a transfer to a rearranged date – and after months of lockdown, just think how good that first night out is going to be!