Governments in three European Union countries are considering measures that would allow event organizers to offer vouchers, rather than refunds, to compensate consumers for cancelled events in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the event ecosystem.
IQ Magazine reports that governments in Italy, Germany and Poland have already begun to consider such changes, which range from an extension of refund grace periods to the offering of vouchers rather than refunds as an way for beleaguered organizations hoping to weather the cash flow storm.
StubHub has drawn criticism from some for its recent announcement that it would only provide refunds to consumers in states where the law required it – offering vouchers good for 120 percent of the purchase price of a ticket to a since-cancelled show whenever possible. But this push overseas seems to indicate that vouchers rather than refunds could become more the norm.
Italy’s Assomusica estimates that by the end of May, more than 4,000 events will have been cancelled or postponed in the country, which has seen a staggering 14,681 deaths attributed to the pandemic – the highest toll of any country through Friday afternoon. The organization thanked the government for measures taken thus far to protect the live entertainment and cultural spaces, which have included allowing vouchers for events as a valid reimbursement.
“We ask the European Commission, MPs and the Culture Committee to extend this lifesaver to the other countries which, through the introduction of vouchers to replace tickets, allows the spectator not to give up their concert and companies not to go to default,” president Vincenzo Spera said.
Germany has considered similar measures in the wake of a 50 billion Euro financial stimulus. It is considering a law permitting organizers to offer vouchers in lieu of refunds, so long as those vouchers were valid through the end of 2021 and organizers were obliged to offer refunds if they weren’t used by the end of that time frame.
In Poland, vouchers are now allowed instead of a cash refund that are valid for a minimum of one year from the date of the cancelled event.
The United States has not seen a major push for such changes to be made via regulations, so it has been up to individual businesses in the ticketing space to adjust their policies on the fly as the Covid-19 pandemic has unfolded. Most operations have shifted to offering vouchers as an option for consumers willing to trade their refund option for a higher value voucher, while StubHub removed the refund option as of last week.