Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s updated refund policy has sparked outrage across the globe amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now, Canada lawmakers are calling for probers of the ticketing giants’ policy.
Earlier this month, Ticketmaster quietly updated its refund policy, which stated that fans can receive refunds to events that are cancelled, however, if the event is postponed, they can only receive a refund if the event has a new rescheduled date. The problem, however, is that 90 percent of postponed events have not been rescheduled at this time. Fans lashed out at the ticketing company, calling for refunds during this financially stressful time.
Live Nation noted in a statement to the CBC that they are “working with artists and venues as quickly as we can.”
“For Live Nation shows, a refund window will be available when they are rescheduled,” the company said. “If they cannot confirm new dates, they will be cancelled and be refunded.”
U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) joined forces with Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) to write a scathing letter to Live Nation and Ticketmaster, calling the new policy “reprehensible.”
“With Americans weathering the brutal and continuing impacts of the global crisis, your decision to confiscate their money is reprehensible and should be reversed immediately,” the letter read.
Canadian lawmakers have also begun to speak out regarding the policy. Brian Masse, the NDP member of Parliament for Windsor West – and the party’s industry critic – is calling on the Competition Bureau and the Industry Minister Navdeep Bains to launch investigations. He said that “we need to drop the gloves this time to protect consumers” and “it really warrants a full investigation as to whether our laws are sufficient or not.”
On the other hand, conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner told the CBC that it might not be the best time to immediately offer refunds on all concert tickets until there’s a more comprehensive plan to restart the economy.
“I don’t want to sound like I’m arguing for or against, you know, either consumers or a corporation,” she said. “I’m just saying that there’s a broader economic problem here that we have to be seized with, because you and I could have this conversation in so many different aspects.”
Lawmakers aren’t alone in their beliefs; fans have been lashing out at the refund policy. Following the backlash, Ticketmaster released a statement, noting that while typically, event organizers have some sort of flexibility, this is a different situation.
“The unprecedented volume of over 30,000 events impacted to date, coupled with continued uncertainty over setting new dates while awaiting clearance from regional governments, has led to event organizers needing additional time to reschedule their events before deciding to offer refund options,” the company said in a statement.
Live Nation and Ticketmaster, however, aren’t alone in new refund policies. Secondary ticketing site StubHub announced it would offer vouchers worth 120% of the ticket order, rather than a refund. StubHub said its simply not possible to refund customers at this time, which has sparked a $5 million lawsuit. Additionally, Vivid Seats revealed a new incentive voucher program offering the option of 120% store credit or a refund for rescheduled or cancelled events.