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

Lockdown easing in England has been delayed by four weeks. 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?

Lockdown restrictions will stay in place until 19 July in England, as the government announces a four week delay to the planned 21 June unlocking.

It was hoped that all legal restrictions on social contact in England would be lifted on 21 June.

But a rise in cases of the Delta variant means capacity limits for sport, pubs and cinemas will remain, and nightclubs will stay closed.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the further easing of rules will be reviewed later this month.

So what does this mean if you have tickets for an event taking place between 21 June and 19 July?

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 updated15 June 2021

  • 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.

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

Restrictions on weddings and personal events vary across the four nations.

  • In England Weddings, civil ceremonies and sit-down receptions can only take placed in limited scenarios until the end of new lockdown measures. The 30-person cap on weddings will be scrapped from 21 June 2021, but numbers of guests must allow for social distancing. Other restrictions will also apply including limits on singing and dancing. Guests will be told to sit on tables of up to six people and receptions will be table service only.
  • In Scotland Weddings, civil ceremonies and funerals may take place with up to 100 people in level one areas. For those in level 2, only 50 people can attend and there’s a 10.30pm curfew. Low-level background music is allowed at receptions but the only dancing allowed is the couple’s first dance and a dance between the couple’s parents.
  • In Wales Weddings and receptions of up to 30 people are allowed indoors, and 50 people are permitted outdoors. Receptions can’t take place inside private homes or private gardens. A reception can be held at a regulated coronavirus-secure venue which hasn’t held the ceremony itself.
  • In Northern Ireland There’s no set limit on how many can attend marriages or civil partnership ceremonies. The number is determined by a risk assessment specific for the venue. Guests must wear face coverings and the venue must be able to accommodate social distancing. Communal singing should be avoided.

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‘; but venues can keep some money to cover costs it’s already incurred. If a company keeps your money ask for a breakdown of why it can’t be refunded – remember while it can keep costs spent directly on your wedding like planning work, it cannot keep money for things like general staff costs or building maintenance.

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.

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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