Lockdown restrictions are being eased across the UK, with weddings and some personal events able to go ahead this summer but theatre, concert hall and stadium doors remain closed.
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.
- Cancelled events: your consumer rights
- Postponed events: your consumer rights
- Can you claim back hotel and travel costs?
- Weddings, parties and personal events
- Get money back by other means
- More advice from Which?
- 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.
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.
Weddings, parties and personal events
All wedding or private parties booked from March until June were cancelled following government action to ban all public gatherings of more than two people – with the exception of funerals.
Easing of these restrictions has varied across the four nations.
- In England from 4 July 2020 Weddings and civil ceremonies may take place with up to 30 people present. This guidance is for ceremonies only, Wedding receptions or celebrations can only take place following government guidance of six people outside, support bubbles or two households indoors or outdoors.
- In Scotland from 3 July outdoor weddings and civil ceremonies may take place with up to eight people present.
- In Wales from 22 June weddings and civil ceremonies can take place but only at registry offices or places of worship if social distancing is possible and it is up to those venues whether they want to open for such purposes.
- In Northern Ireland from 8 June outdoor weddings and civil ceremonies can take place with up to 10 people present.
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.
If your wedding goes ahead but is different to what you paid for It’s a good idea to speak to your venue try to find a solution that works for everyone, but it is reasonable to negotiate a reduced fee if you aren’t getting what your originally paid for. For example, if you paid for a wedding with 100 guests, and now only 25 are able to attend due to social distancing rules, it’s generally reasonable to ask for a fee reduction.
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?
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.
- Back to the top
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.
- Coronavirus outbreak: how you can protect yourself
- Coronavirus outbreak: advice for travellers
- Coronavirus outbreak: what it means for your travel insurance
- Coronavirus outbreak: have you spotted dubious products and surge pricing?
- Coronavirus outbreak: your travel and consumer rights Q&A