Ticketmaster Conveniently Just Changed Their Refund Policy, and People Are Outraged

Gina Vaynshteyn - Author

Apr. 13 2020, Updated 10:17 p.m. ET

ticketmaster refund coronavirus
Source: iStock

It's been almost two months since the COVID-19 crisis essentially put all events on indefinite pause. Even before states started implementing a shelter-in-place mandate, people started to frequent places like movie theaters, restaurants, and bars less and less. Events have been hit especially hard. Bands and musicians have canceled or rescheduled their tours — even Coachella announced that they were postponing the music festival until later this year. If you bought your tickets through Ticketmaster, we have some bad news.

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Ticketmaster just changed their refund policy.

That's right. If you used Ticketmaster to purchase any of your tickets for concerts that have been postponed or rescheduled, you may not be getting a refund. Customers are not happy, to say the least. It's one thing to have your plans derailed, but to not even being able to get your money back is infuriating. For many who spent hundreds of dollars, it's downright devastating. 

concert ticket
Source: iStock
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While Ticketmaster has always had a refund policy, apparently the ticket sales and distribution outlet recently changed the policy's language. Before COVID-19, ticket holders were able to get refunds if the event is canceled, postponed, or rescheduled. This makes sense, since most people plan their events around a certain day and time — and if that day and time is no longer doable, getting a refund is the solution. 

But it seems like Ticketmaster went in and changed their policy and took out postponed and rescheduled events as stipulations. Here's Ticketmaster's page on the subject of refunds before the changes were made: 

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ticketmaster before
Source: Ticketmaster (Captured by the NYT)

Here's what Ticketmaster has now:

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ticketmaster canceled
Source: Ticketmaster

Now, Ticketmaster is saying it can only give you a refund if the event is canceled. If the event is postponed or rescheduled, Ticketmaster feels like it's not obligated to return you your money. This doesn't necessarily mean you'll never see your money again, but it'll probably take time. A lot of time. 

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On March 12, Ticketmaster put out some information regarding events impacted by COVID-19. It states that while canceled events are automatically refunded, events that are postponed or rescheduled are being treat differently. Ticketmaster states, "If your event was rescheduled, we are working with the event organizer to identify new dates, and we will contact you as soon as we have confirmation."

Ticketmaster also adds, "If your event organizer is offering refunds for a rescheduled event, a refund link will be visible under the event in your Ticketmaster account. Please note that given the unprecedented circumstances, event organizers are constantly assessing the situation and making determinations regarding refunds. If your event is not currently enabled for refunds, check back later, as this status may change."

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Basically, what this means is that the organizer needs to notify Ticketmaster to refund the tickets. If it doesn't, then Ticketmaster states that it isn't obligated to do anything. Hopefully all organizers will make it possible for customers to get their money back, but if not — you're out of luck. For now. 

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Ticketmaster offers another solution if your event is postponed or rescheduled and you think you won't be able to go: Sell your ticket.  "If your event was postponed or rescheduled and you are unable to attend (and resale is enabled for your event), you can sell your tickets to other fans on our safe and simple Ticketmaster resale marketplace. If refunds are not allowed for your event and you post through ticketmaster.com, we will waive seller fees for fans that create(d) resale posting from March 17 through May 31," Ticketmaster suggests. 

Understandably, people are not happy with Ticketmaster.

Folks are noticing the lack of compassion and unwillingness to help customers out during a global pandemic (and potential economic depression that's impacting millions in the U.S. alone). It's definitely not a good look, that's for sure. 

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Historically, people have never really been huge fans of Ticketmaster — even bands and musicians have raged against the ticket machine to avoid their fans having to pay for expensive (and mysterious) booking and service fees on top of concert tickets. But clearly this move is going too far, even for Ticketmaster. Hopefully Ticketmaster execs will do the right thing and refund ALL the tickets. Ticketmaster has yet to make a statement. 

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