Tickets: Your rights at concerts
Summer time is concert time. More than 20 festival take place in Austria this year. But what happens, if the event is cancelled due to a storm or if just the one band you wanted to see calls off their concert? ECC Austria has the information for you.
In principle, your claims depend on the reason why you can't attend an event. Every case needs individual evaluation of the circumstances. In the following, a few common examples are displayed.
I'm sick and can't attend!
When you have to cancel due to sickness, you are not entitled to a refund from the organisator. You can try to sell your ticket to a friend as long as it is not specifically issued to your name and you are allowed to forward it. Some events offer a cancellation protection that you can buy together with the ticket. Please make sure to read the conditions carefully. Maybe you have to cancel before a specific date or you don't get a total refund.
The venue was changed!
When the location of an event was changed, your claims depend on the distance from the original venue. If the concert is still in the same city or only a short drive away (like in the next village), it will probably considered an acceptable change. If the new location is in another country, you don't have to accept.
The date was changed!
You can decide, if you want to attend the concert or festival at the new date or demand a refund. The organisator can't force you to accept this change.
The Line-up was changed!
The consequences of modifications of the programme depend on the type of event. When the solo artist of a concert cancels, the ticket loses its value. You can demand a full refund from the organisator. However, the situation is different with e.g. stage plays, where no promise for a specific cast is made.
The organisator cancelled the event in advance!
In this case, you get a full refund, whatever the reason for the cancellation may be. You paid for a service that was not delivered. Usually, the organisator informs the consumers what they have to do in order to get their money back.
The event was cancelled after the start!
If a festival or concert has to be cancelled, e.g. due to safety issues during a storm, the refund usually depends on how much of the performance was already delivered. This means: When a festival of three days gets cancelled after the first day, you should get two thirds of the ticket price back (given that you bought a ticket for the whole festival).
If all "headliners" only perform on the last day or if you bought the ticket for a specific band that you can't see due to the cancellation, you should contact the organisator and try to argue for a higher refund. However, this is a pure matter of negotiation.
If you decide on your own to leave early, e.g. due to bad weather, you are not entitled to a refund.
The event did not take place due to a mistake of the organisator.
If a concert or festival is cancelled after tickets were sold because the organisator didn't book the venue in time or didn't meet the official requirements, you can claim damages. The organisator will have to refund the money you spent on tickets, arrival and accommodation. In order to get information on the reason for the cancellation, contact the organisator directly. Even when a call would be sufficient, it is recommend that you get as much as possible in written form. This will help you in case of dispute.
Apropos: If you get injured during the event, the organisator is only responsible if your accident is in direct relation to his failure to take all proper safety measures. Force majeure like storms is not the fault of the organisator.
How do I get the refund?
It is recommended to send a letter to the organisator with your claims and bank account details as well as a copy of your ticket. Furthermore, set a deadline (14 days are appropriate). If the respective event takes place every year and you want to visit it in the next year, you can also ask for a voucher.
The organisator refuses to pay.
When you already contacted the organisator and he refuses to pay, you can turn to the Verein für Konsumenteninformation (VKI). If the organisator is situated in another EU Member State, Norway or Iceland, the European Consumer Centre (ECC) is happy to help. Both organisations will try to reach an amicable, out-of-court solution with the trader.