Sport & Entertainment Tickets, How do I get a refund on your cancelled or mis-sold tickets to gigs and fixtures?

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There are now a range of new in-person entertainment and sporting events this summer with the European Football League, Elton John’s ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour, and the recent racing in the Grand National, but what do you do if the venue is overbooked? Your seat isn’t the one you’ve paid for, or your event has been cancelled? 

Consumer Rights 

Consumers (those who act outside of their individual capacity, outside of their trade, profession or craft) have enhanced legal rights over the purchases they make for goods, services, and digital content via the Consumer Rights Act 2015. 

This applied implied terms that automatically incorporate into the contract between you and the trader you purchased tickets from, they cannot usually be excluded from applying, and have three key requirements for goods and digital content:

  • As described 
  • Fit for purpose 
  • Of satisfactory quality 

For services, they must be provided: 

  • With reasonable care and skill 
  • Reasonable price to be paid 
  • Performed within a reasonable time

Claiming a Refund 

There are a range of opening weekend games in the 2021-22 Championship season fixtures of the European Football League, particularly with the on chance of a Germany v England fixture following the 2 – 2 with Germany and Hungary on Wednesday night. There are also a range of cancellations to events, including Elton John’s tour, so there is also a bet to be had on the possibility of seeking a refund on tickets. 

To claim, there needs to be a breach of the implied terms of the contract formed between you and the trader that sold you the tickets in the UK. If, as above, a ticket is cancelled for an event or sporting fixture, then the services will not be provided ‘within a reasonable time’ and the services will not be provided at all…therefore, there would be a face-value breach of contract of these implied terms. 

There are then certain rights on what you can claim in terms of a refund, it is often understood that, if your tickets are cancelled, you can claim a 100% refund, this is generally true, but you can also possibly seek ‘damages’ or compensation in excess of the 100% of the ticket price if you have suffered reasonable foreseeable loss as a result of the breach of the implied terms. 

For instance, it may be possible to claim the cost of a non-refundable train ticket or hotel booking in order to attend an event far from home. This is because you may be unable to claim a refund directly from the hotel or transport operator and it could be said that the attendees to entertainment and sporting events would seek local hotel accommodation or travel. 

S19 of the Consumer Rights Act allows for claiming damages under subsection 11(a) as a remedy to a breach of contract in certain circumstances, ensuring that evidencing losses and such losses being reasonably foreseeable and properly incurred. 

Notice & Pre-Action 

Seeking a refund under the Consumer Rights Act is not always simple, but the best starting point is usually contacting the customer service department or contacting the trader where you purchased the tickets. If they do not offer an adequate refund and/or compensation in the particular circumstances, you will likely need to provide a notice setting out your right(s) to a greater refund and/or compensation via a written notice. 

This can be a simple letter that sets out your circumstances, the terms of the contract formed between the parties and the breach, as well as the case for an enhanced refund beyond that offered and/or compensation for losses incurred as a direct result of the breach. This can take the form of a standard letter. 

If the trader has been dismissive or difficult either before or after a written notice, you may consider making the notice compliant with the Pre-Action Protocol on Pre-Action Conduct. This is a set of rules that courts would expect you to follow should you ultimately make a claim for money at court against the trader you contracted with. 

This can ensure that things like costs of court proceedings and interest on money sought from the trader can be fully claimed, as the court can dismiss or elect to reduce the amount sought by you should you not genuinely seek to settle the dispute outside of court and share information with the other party in order to facilitate that resolution. 

You can access the Pre-Action Protocol here: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/pd_pre-action_conduct 

It is customary and expected to provide the recipient with 14-days to respond to your notice letter, clearly indicate that the letter is a pre-action notice, and attach a copy of the Pre-Action Protocol if the recipient is not represented by a lawyer. 

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