While holders of tickets to the "This Is It" tour may have had no problem getting refunds, that's not always the case. Take the Bret Michaels fans who bought tickets to a show scheduled in Syracuse, New York, last August. The show never came off. The promoter failed to make the advance payments it owed Michaels under his contract. So Michaels refused to perform.
It's no stretch to imagine that a promoter who can't pay an act might refuse, or be unable, to refund ticket purchases. That's what happened. It took seven months and action by New York's Attorney General, but at least 100 ticket buyers may now get their refunds. That is, if the promoter makes payment into the refund account. If the promoter goes bust completely, there go the refunds.
So what can you do? It helps to deal with a reputable and financially sound promoter. After that, how you purchase the tickets does matter. For example, if you use a credit card you may dispute a charge if the seller doesn't supply the goods or services. The card company will credit your account if you prove correct. Paying cash, in comparison, leaves you with the fewest, and worst, options for getting your money back.
Refunds Offered for Michael Jackson Tickets
Michael Jackson fans who purchased tickets for his "This is It" London concert series can collect a full refund for the cancelled show. Entertainment promoter AEG Live offered fans the option of collecting a refund or choosing to receive the actual tickets to the show to keep as souvenirs. The over-sized tickets, shown here, feature eight different 3-D graphics inspired and designed by Jackson himself. Fans have until August 14, 2009 to apply for a refund through the "Michael Jackson Live" website.
Insuring the Death of a Star
Sending fans memorabilia tickets, rather than refunding some of the $90 million dollars collected in ticket sales, is one way that AEG hopes to cut losses arising from Jackson's death and the cancellation of his 50-show concert tour. The company already paid Jackson millions of dollars, and millions were invested in the concert's production. Entertainment promoters typically purchase insurance to cover event cancellations, and insurance may cover part of AEG's loss.
Jackson reportedly passed a medical exam earlier this year that enabled AEG to insure his concert tour through Lloyd's of London. However, Jackson was considered a high risk due to the state of his health and history of concert cancellations, so AEG may have placed policies with several insurers to share the risk.
The insurance recovery to AEG depends upon the wording of the individual insurance policies as well as the exact determination of Jackson's cause of death. Entertainment insurance policies generally deny coverage for any intentional misrepresentation or concealment regarding the entertainer's health. Also, the policies likely limited coverage for losses related to pre-existing medical conditions, medical negligence, or drug use.
Refunds for Ticket Buyers
What can you do if you bought tickets to a concert or event that is cancelled?
Check the ticket sellers' policies before you buy. Generally when you purchase a ticket, you are agreeing to the ticket seller's refund policies. Know before you buy whether the ticket seller guaranties a refund if the event is cancelled.
Contact the ticket seller for a refund. Most event promoters do offer a ticket refund or exchange for cancellations. But don't delay seeking a refund because they are usually only available for a very limited time.
Check for buyer protection coverage through your credit card company or payment service. Many major credit cards and payment services provide protection to purchasers. For example, consumers using the purchase service PayPal may be entitled to collect a refund if they fail to receive event tickets purchased on eBay, the online auction marketplace.