5 On Your Side

Refunds for COVID-19 canceled events vary by venue, promoter, where you bought tickets

Posted February 22, 2021 2:51 p.m. EST
Updated February 22, 2021 6:55 p.m. EST

— The coronavirus pandemic has shut down packed venues and canceled sold-out crowds for concerts and shows. Almost a year later, many ticket holders, like Renee Ring, are still asking, “how do I get my money back?"

"I was really worrying that I had lost my money," explained Ring, who spent hundreds of dollars in January 2020 to see rock band Krokus perform a concert planned for September.

Of course, it was postponed because of the pandemic.

"They said hang onto your tickets and if the show is canceled or rescheduled, you’ll have the option of either keeping your tickets and going to the rescheduled show or getting a refund," Ring told 5 On Your Side.

The concert date came and went, the rescheduled status didn’t change. Ring then contacted Ticketmaster for a refund.

"When I first emailed them, they said the show promoter had decided not to issue refunds," said Ring. "I thought, well how can they do that? The fact that I spent over $400 on two front-row tickets, I wasn't about to let that go."

5 On Your Side found the answer to getting a refund depends on the venue, promoter and where you bought tickets.

"We always urge the business to do the right thing by their customer," North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein told 5 On Your Side.

Despite the numerous unknowns created by the pandemic, Stein is clear on how he sees the law.

"If you can’t deliver what you promise the customer, you should refund the money," he said.

5 On Your Side found still, some venues and sellers are holding firm on their no refund policies, even for canceled events.

At Raleigh’s PNC Arena, it depends on the event. Ticket holders are being told to contact the point-of-purchase for a refund.

The Durham Performing Arts Center also said it doesn’t control refund decisions but ticket holders can request a refund or credit within 30 days of when new dates for events are announced.

Live Nation gives you the option of a refund or a 150% credit to use later.

StubHub offers a 120% credit, but no option for a refund.

Vivid Seats said contact them within seven days of the cancelation to get a refund.

Stein recommends those who want a refund should push for one.

"You ask persistently. You say, 'Look, this was not my fault. My plans have changed. My life has changed. My circumstances are different. I really need this money. Do the right thing,'" he said.

If that doesn’t work then file a complaint with his office.

Ring said she believes her persistence paid off with Ticketmaster.

"The first three emails that they sent me, they denied giving a refund." said Ring. "It was four emails before I finally received an email saying that I had been approved for a refund."

Another option is to resell your tickets. By the same token, if you buy through a ticket reseller, beware that automatic refunds could go directly to that first buyer and that you may never see your money.

As for Ring, she’s thrilled to get her money back, but is now cautious about future events.

"I probably would try to see them again, but I don’t know that I would spend that much money, and I don’t know that I would buy my tickets that far in advance," explained Ring

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