June 9, 2023

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Viagogo denies withholding refunds for gigs hit by coronavirus

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Image caption

Cardi B headlined Wireless festival in 2019, which has been cancelled in 2020

Viagogo has been criticised for refusing to give refunds to people who have bought tickets on its site to events hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The consumer organisation Which? says the ticketing site has added a clause to its cancellation policy which has left some customers unable to claim their money back.

But Viagogo tells Newsbeat this claim is “fundamentally inaccurate” and that their policy on refunding customers hasn’t changed.

Cancelled or postponed?

The row centres on whether an event can be considered to have been cancelled if ticket holders are offered an alternative gig.

Which?’s claim is about events including Wireless Festival and Reading and Leeds festival, which have told the organisation their 2020 events are cancelled, not postponed.

But a line on Viagogo’s website says that if an event is offering tickets for a different show – which both these are – their customers will automatically get those tickets.

Which? says Viagogo is “withholding refunds” from customers.

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Some people with tickets to these events have said that they are unable to make plans for these festivals in 2021 due to their work situation or other plans.

Others say they only bought tickets to see one specific band on the 2020 line-up.

Viagogo is refunding people who bought tickets to events that have been permanently cancelled due to coronavirus – or giving them a “125% voucher”.

Ticket-holders to postponed events will be able to use their tickets at rescheduled dates.

If they can’t make those dates the resale site suggests they re-sell their tickets.

‘Not entitled to refund’

A spokesperson for Viagogo has told Newsbeat their rules about refunds were in place before the pandemic.

“Viagogo issue refunds for cancelled events, so what Which? is claiming is fundamentally inaccurate,” they say in a statement.

“Which? are describing customers who have tickets for postponed events. Tickets for postponed events are still valid and therefore customers are not entitled to a refund per our terms and conditions.

“This has always been our policy and predates the pandemic. We understand that event changes may be disappointing for customers however, they are always able to relist their tickets if they are unable to attend the new date.”

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Getty Images

Image caption

Festival plans for 2020 are on hold

‘Dodging its responsibilities’

A consumer rights expert at Which? says Viagogo has “a history of ripping customers off and skirting the law.”

“In these challenging times it seems to be dodging its responsibilities to customers when considering requests for refunds,” says Adam French.

“The secondary ticketing site must follow the stance taken by festival organisers and simply refund those who have tickets to an event cancelled due to coronavirus.”

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