A big part of our wonderful summer is the music festival season, but what happens if a festival is cancelled or dramatically changed at the last moment?
The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) gives consumers rights if an Australian business fails to deliver what they said they would.
Know your consumer rights if your music festival is cancelled. We have some tips on how you can avoid heartache, and save your dosh for the mosh!
Top tip – Ts&Cs and your rights
When you buy a ticket, you are entering into a contract with the company you bought it from. Your ticket comes with terms and conditions that dictate what your purchase entitles you to, including refunds and redress if something goes wrong.
However, a company cannot waive their responsibilities under the ACL. If you buy a ticket to a festival and the event is either cancelled, or has a major change (such as a headlining act will not perform, or the date or venue changes), you are entitled to a refund of the ticket. This is regardless of whether the terms and conditions say so.
Just like any other purchase, hold on to your receipts and purchase details. If something goes wrong, speak to the ticketing agent first. For more information, check out our ACL guide to Consumer Guarantees.
Top tip – Buy through secure online websites
It’s safest to buy your tickets online through a reputable authorised seller with a secure connection. Use these helpful online safety tips:
- Get advice from family and friends who have bought from the seller, or check online forums, feedback and reviews from previous customers.
- Check that the organiser is a member of Live Performance Australia (LPA). LPA members must follow a code of practice for ticketing.
- Buy tickets from an authorised seller. Most LPA events have conditions that limit your rights if you buy your ticket from an unauthorised re-seller (a ‘ticket scalper’). The organiser may even cancel your tickets.
- If the seller claims to be a registered company, look up their ACN on the Australian Securities & Investments (ASIC) website. If they’re a registered business, look up their ABN - visit the ABN lookup website
- When checking out, make sure the URL or web address starts with https: instead of just http: - this means the page is secure.
- Check closely for any additional charges, such as membership fees, which could be ongoing. Look out for boxes that have been automatically ticked – these could be adding costs to your purchase.
- If you choose the option of having your ticket sent via mail, have it registered so you can track its delivery.
Top tip – Buy with credit card or PayPal
Pay with a credit card or third party escrow agent (such as PayPal) where possible. This will make sure that you have protection if anything goes wrong with the purchase as you may be able to seek a chargeback from your credit card company or the escrow agent.
Notify your credit card provider immediately if you become aware of an unauthorised transaction on your account. Be aware that debit cards do not have the same level of protection as credit cards against fraudulent use.
Top tip – Contact your ticket agent first
If you suffer a financial loss (e.g. cancelling flights or accommodation) because the event is cancelled or there's a major change in the line up, etc., contact your festival ticketing agent first. The ACL says that a business must provide the goods or service it advertised.
If you are having trouble with refunds and you paid with credit card or escrow (see above) then contact your credit card provider, bank or escrow immediately to seek a chargeback.
You may still have rights under the Australian Consumer Law even if you are unable to resolve a dispute with the ticket seller. For more info you can contact your local fair trading and consumer affairs agency.