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Coronavirus outbreak: cancelled or postponed events – can I get my money back?

From Glastonbury to weddings. How to get your money back if an event is cancelled or postponed due to coronavirus

Coronavirus outbreak: cancelled or postponed events – can I get my money back?

The UK government has banned any gathering of more than two people – with the exception of funerals – to fight the spread of coronavirus.

As a result large-scale public events, theatre and cinema shows and personal events such as weddings and parties will not be able to go ahead for the foreseeable future.

Many of us will have purchased tickets for attractions or upcoming live events and sports, or could have paid huge amounts of money for a wedding.

Here, Which? explains your rights if an event, gig you have tickets for – or an upcoming personal event – is postponed or cancelled.

First published 3 March 2020. Last updated 12 May 2020

  • You can keep up to date with our latest advice on the coronavirus outbreak over on our coronavirus advice hub.

Cancelled events: your consumer rights

If you bought your tickets directly from the event organiser or primary ticket retailers, such as See Tickets or Ticketmaster, you will benefit from some consumer protections.

These firms are required by the industry’s self-regulatory body, the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR), to refund the ticket’s face value price when an event is cancelled.

But it’s unlikely you’ll get the delivery costs or booking fees back.

You may have fewer protections if you purchased tickets from a secondary ticket seller, such as Viagogo or StubHub. Check the terms and conditions on its website as some companies offer guarantees or other protections.

Whichever way you bought your tickets, in the first instance you need to contact the company that sold them to you and request a refund if it doesn’t offer one automatically.

if you’re taking part in something like a marathon, a refund of your entry fee is not guaranteed if it is cancelled; instead you will need to check event organiser’s terms and conditions.

Postponed events: your consumer rights

If an event you have tickets for is postponed, hold on to those tickets until a new date is announced. If you’re unable to attend the rescheduled date, you can claim a refund of the ticket’s face-value price.

But again, it’s unlikely you’ll get the delivery costs or booking fees back.

Again, you’ll have fewer protections if you purchased tickets from a secondary ticket seller, such as Viagogo or StubHub. Check the terms and conditions on its website, as some companies offer guarantees or other protections.

If the you cannot attend the new date, it’s may be that the only way to recover some of your money back will be to resell the ticket to someone else who can.

And if an event like a marathon is postponed – and you can’t make the new date – a refund of your entry fee is not guaranteed. You’ll need to check event organiser’s terms and conditions.

The big events affected so far

We’re monitoring what bigger events have been affected and what the event organisers are telling those with tickets.

  • BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend – Cancelled
  • Birmingham Comic Con – postponed until 27 and 28 June 2020. Ticket holders unable to make the new dates should be refunded
  • Cinema closures Cinema chains Odeon, Cineworld and Picturehouse are shutting all their UK screens amid the coronavirus pandemic until further notice.
  • Champions League – Matches suspended until further notice
  • Edinburgh Festival – Festival organisers say it is refunding all participant registration fees, as well as refunding Fringe tickets and Friends memberships. If you were planning on attending you may want to cancel accommodation and travel plans. All train tickets and most accommodation options are refundable.
  • Europa League – Matches suspended until further notice
  • UEFA Euro 2020 – postponed until 2021, ticket and package holders who cannot make the new dates will be eligible for a refund
  • Premier League matches – postponed, date TBC
  • Six Nations – postponed, date TBC
  • The London Marathon – postponed until Sunday 4 October 2020. Anyone unable to make the new date can get a refund
  • Tokyo Olympics 2020 – rescheduled for July 23 to August 8, 2021. Anyone who has purchased a ticket and travel  package needs speak to the retailer that they bought it from.
  • The WHO UK Tour – Cancelled, all ticket holders will be refunded
  • 2021 Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship – suspended. Keep hold of tickets until new dates are announced
  • Glastonbury festival 2020 – postponed until 2021, ticket holders unable to make the new dates will  be refunded

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Can you claim back hotel and travel costs?

If you’ve paid for transport or hotel bookings that you don’t need anymore because your event has been cancelled, get in touch with the companies you’ve booked with. They might be able to refund you or rebook your plans for a later date.

But there are no guarantees.

If your hotel and travel plans are also cancelled due to the outbreak of coronavirus you will also be entitled to a refund of those costs.

If you have appropriate travel insurance you might be able to claim back the entire cost of your trip.

Can you get a refund if an event is not as advertised?

It depends. If you’ve bought a ticket for a single headline gig, and the headliner doesn’t perform, you should get your money back.

But if it’s a festival with multiple acts, you’ll have a ticket for the festival and not an individual performer. In that instance, don’t expect a refund.

Weddings, parties and personal events

All wedding or parties booked in the next few weeks will be cancelled following government action to ban all public gatherings of more than two people – with the exception of funerals.

If you are concerned about an upcoming personal event such as a wedding, your first port of call is to speak to the venue and any suppliers you have agreements with to try and negotiate an agreeable way forward – for example agreeing a new date.

If your venue or supplier cancels You will be entitled to get the money paid back for what has been cancelled – although you will still need to check for any exclusions in your contract with them. If you have wedding insurance speak to your provider and check the terms and conditions of your policy to determine exactly what is covered.

If you cancel or postpone Speak to your venue and suppliers, and try to agree a postponement to a later date. If this isn’t possible and you have to cancel, you could be on the hook for any fees already paid – especially if you’ve only given a short amount of notice. By law, deposits can’t be ‘non-refundable‘; if a company keeps your money ask for a breakdown of why it can’t be refunded.

We asked 12 of the UK’s biggest wedding insurance providers how coronavirus is affecting their policies, and what your rights are if your wedding gets cancelled. What does coronavirus mean for your wedding insurance?

The rules on funerals

Funeral attendances are restricted to be as low as possible to ensure a safe distance of at least 2 metres can be maintained between individuals.

Alongside the Funeral Director, Chapel Attendant, and funeral staff only the following should attend:

  • members of the person’s household
  • close family members
  • or if the above are unable to attend, close friends.

The attendance of a celebrant of choice, if the bereaved request it, is also permissible.

Mourners should also follow the advice on social distancing when travelling to and from the funeral gathering.

Get money back by other means

If your claim is ignored or refused by the ticketing company you should contact your bank or credit card company (if you paid using a credit card). Make them aware of your experience and the complaint you’ve made.

  • If you paid by credit card – if you’ve bought anything worth more than £100 and less than £30,000 using your credit card you have additional protections if something goes wrong. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act makes your credit card company jointly liable for any breach of contract (such as an event cancellation) and you can claim your money back directly from it.
  • If you paid by debit card – you can ask your card provider to reverse a transaction on your credit or debit card in a process called chargeback. Unlike Section 75, chargeback isn’t a right or law and offers no guarantees, but it is a way your bank may be able to help you. Chargeback is also particularly useful where the cost of the tickets was under £100 and Section 75 doesn’t apply.
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Which? Coronavirus advice

Experts from across Which? have been compiling the advice you need to stay safe, and make sure you’re not left out of pocket.


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