Tickets: Your rights at concerts
Summertime is concert time. 16 music festivals such as Nova Rock, Frequency, Donauinselfest or Lido Sounds are taking place in Austria this year, there is no sign of the pandemic restrictions of previous years. But what happens if the event is cancelled due to a storm or exactly the one band you really wanted to see is cancelled? ECC Austria has collected the most important information here.
I am ill and cannot come at short notice!
If you are unable to attend an event due to illness, you will not be entitled to a refund from the organiser. You can try to sell your ticket to acquaintances, as long as they are not explicitly issued in your name and may be passed on. Alternatively, some events offer cancellation protection that you can purchase together with your ticket. However, it is important that you read the conditions carefully. You may have to cancel by a certain date or you may not get the full ticket price back. You should also check whether the ticket has been issued in a personalised form - i.e. with your own name on it - and whether it can be passed on at all. It is often possible to take out insurance against cancellation in the event of illness when purchasing the ticket. This makes the most sense for expensive tickets.
The venue has been changed!
In the case of such a change, it depends on how far the new location is from the original and whether it is reasonable for the visitors. For example, if a concert in Vienna is moved from the Stadthalle to the Ernst Happel Stadium because more tickets were sold, this is a reasonable change. However, you do not have to accept a relocation to another country.
The event will take place on a different date!
In the event of a postponement, you can decide whether you still want to attend the concert or festival or ask for your money back. The organiser cannot force you to attend the new date. However, this does not apply to events that have been cancelled or postponed until 31.6.2022 due to corona (and only for this reason!). Here the KuKuSpoSi law applies, according to which an organiser may also issue vouchers instead of a cash refund. These are valid until the end of 2023, as the law has been extended. If such a voucher is not used by then, the equivalent value must be refunded to the customer in cash. No processing fee may be charged by intermediary companies.
The Line-Up was changed!
In the case of a programme change, it depends on the type of event. In the case of a solo concert, if the soloist cancels, the ticket loses its value for you and you can demand your money back from the organiser. In the case of a play, where there is usually no fixed commitment for a specific cast, the situation is different.
Organiser cancelled the event in advance!
In this case, you will receive your money back, regardless of the reasons for the cancellation. A value voucher instead of a refund is only permissible if the event was cancelled due to Corona and the event should have taken place by the end of the first half of 2022. The service for which you paid when purchasing the ticket was not provided. Organisers themselves often state what customers have to do for a refund.
The event was cancelled after it started!
If a festival or concert has to be cancelled, for example for safety reasons due to a storm, the amount of the refund is usually based on how much of the service has already been provided. This means that if a three-day festival is cancelled after one day, you should get two thirds of the ticket price back (if you bought a ticket for all three days).
According to the case that all "headliners" at the festival only perform on the last day or you bought the ticket because of a band you couldn't see due to the cancellation, it is recommended to contact the organisers. You may be able to argue for a correspondingly higher refund. However, this is purely a matter of negotiation.
However, if you decide to leave earlier, e.g. because of bad weather, you are not entitled to a refund.
The event could not take place due to an error by the organisers.
If a concert or festival is cancelled even though tickets have already been sold, e.g. because the venue was not booked in time or because official requirements were disregarded, you can also claim damages. This includes, for example, costs for travel or a hotel. To find out why the event did not take place, you can contact the organiser directly and ask. In general, a phone call is sufficient, but in case of dispute it is better to have something in writing.
By the way: If you injure yourself during the event or at the festival, you can only blame the organisers if they have not properly fulfilled certain safety standards that are related to your injury. This means that if you trip over a cable that has not been laid correctly or if a scaffold collapses, the organisers will be held responsible. In the case of accidents due to force majeure, such as thunderstorms, this does not usually apply (unless he had not cleared the site in time, but this must be checked in each individual case).
How do I get my money?
To be on the safe side, send a letter to the organisers stating your claim and your account details. Enclose a copy of your ticket. In general, it is always advisable to set a deadline. 14 days is reasonable in this case. If it is an annual event that you attend every year, you can also ask for a voucher.
Organiser refuses to pay.
If you have already contacted the event company and asked for payment, but they refuse, you can contact our host structure the Association for Consumer Information (VKI). If it is a company from another EU member state, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom, we, the European Consumer Centre (ECC) will help you. Both bodies are committed to finding an out-of-court solution for you with the event company.