Friday 13 December 2019

Fans' patience sought as huge ticket refund plan kicks in

Aideen Sheehan

A MASSIVE refund operation is swinging into action as concert promoters, hoteliers, restaurants and pubs count the estimated €50m cost of the five cancelled Garth Brooks concerns.

Ticketmaster said last night that having received notice of the cancellation of all five Garth Brooks' concerts, it would publish details of its cancellation plan for customers today.

"We are working on a plan to make the cancellation process as simple and convenient as possible for customers," it said.

"However, the scale of this operation is unprecedented in the Irish entertainment and therefore we would ask customers to continue to be patient while we finalise our plan."

The situation facing customers who purchased tickets "secondhand" via auction sites and ticket reselling sites is still unclear.

DoneDeal – a buy and sell website – said it was awaiting details of Ticketmaster's refund policy to see if there was provision for refunding customers who were in physical possession of a ticket but not the original buyer.

"We are waiting on Ticketmaster to announce ticket return process details for ticket holders tomorrow. Once Ticketmaster has done so we can advise all those who used DoneDeal to buy or sell tickets on the best course of action," a statement said.

"DoneDeal's policy specifically in relation to the sale of tickets is to adhere to the ticket sale policies of the various event organisers."

Ajay Chowdhury, CEO of Seatwave – a major UK-based ticket reselling site – said customers are covered by their Ticket Integrity Guarantee.


"We are waiting for event organisers to confirm the cancellation and refund process before communicating with those who bought and sold tickets for these events," he said.

The National Consumer Agency said that people who had purchased tickets from a ticket reselling business should be entitled to a refund.

"However, if you purchased a ticket from a private seller then you do not have the same rights," it warned.

"If an event is cancelled ticket values are often refunded to the original purchaser and through the method of payment that was used."

Irish Rail said customers who booked travel to attend concerts which are now cancelled will be refunded. "Iarnrod Eireann has confirmed that customers who booked rail travel to attend any of the Garth Brooks concerts will be refunded in full," it said. Customers can call 1850 366 222, 9am-6pm weekdays, or email refunds@irishrail. ie with their reservation number.

Most people will be able to get a refund on hotel bookings made for the concerts, said Stephen McNally, president of the Irish Hotels Federation.

It was usually no problem to cancel a hotel booking this far in advance, and even in the few cases where there was no cancellation option in the original contract, hotels would do what they could to facilitate guests.

"This is a fiasco where neither the guests nor the hotel is at fault, and of course hotels will do what they can to facilitate customers," he said.

However, customers who wish to cancel should do so via the original site where they made the booking, whether that's directly with the hotel or with a third party hotel booking site, he noted.

Some people might have difficulty cancelling packages including flights booked via third party agencies, he said.

A statement last night from Moran & Bewley's Hotel Group said they will lose an estimated €1.1m in revenue. But they said they will refund all rooms, including those booked under a no-refund policy.

Irish Independent

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