Coronavirus: Refunds for cancelled events

Your questions answered.

Crowd at a concert at night.

If you’ve bought tickets to an event that’s now cancelled due to Covid-19, we explain what you can expect.

What happens if the show is cancelled?

If a show is cancelled, you should get a refund from the ticket agent. Check with the agent about what’s happening. Many have put notices on their websites.

Ticketmaster and Ticketek, the two big ticket agents, said they’re contacting customers about refunds for cancelled shows.

Refunds will normally be made to the credit or debit card you used to purchase the tickets. If your card details have changed, you’ll need to provide the ticket agent with your updated details. You may be able to do this via its website.

I also booked flights and accommodation to attend the event. What should I do?

Ticket agents aren’t required to compensate you for other costs, such as airline tickets or accommodation. You'll need to contact the airline or hotel about a refund or credit.

If you bought a package deal – say, a travel-and-ticket combo – contact the seller of that package.

What if the show is just postponed?

Some shows may be postponed rather than cancelled. If the new date doesn't suit, you should get a refund of the ticket price.

What if the ticket seller isn’t doing anything?

If you haven’t heard from the ticket agent, it may be because it’s dealing with a large number of inquiries.

However, if the agent has refused to do anything, and you paid by credit or debit card, you may be able to get a chargeback (a refund to your card). Contact your bank or card issuer about this.

Are events run by charities treated differently?

No. The ban on public gatherings applies to all events regardless of whether they’re run by a charity or a commercial company.

If it’s a charity fundraiser or an event run by a small community group, and you want to support the organisation, you could consider donating the money to it rather than seeking a refund.

I bought a ticket from a private seller. Will I still be able to get a refund?

If you’ve bought your ticket from a private seller, rather than the official ticket agent, getting a refund might be trickier.

Ticket agents may have terms and conditions stating that if they’re aware a ticket has been resold, they won’t honour it.

Where an event is cancelled, the ticket agent would only be obliged to provide a refund to the original purchaser. You could ask this person for a refund, provided you’re able to contact them.

I purchased the ticket from a ticket resale site. What should I do?

Ask the resale site for a refund. Ticket reseller Viagogo said it’s contacting people who have tickets to cancelled events about refunds.

If the resale site doesn’t provide a refund, and you paid by credit or debit card, you may be able to get a chargeback (a refund to your card). Contact your bank or card issuer about this.

Are private events such as weddings covered by the restrictions?

Yes. The ban applies to private events as well, including weddings.

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Read our latest articles on the Covid-19 pandemic. Got a consumer-related question about coronavirus? Email us at info@consumer.org.nz and we'll do our best to help.

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Phil S.
28 Mar 2020
Virus vs Concerts (in NZ)

The actions taken by government and the entertainment industry so far has been 100% correct in stopping large public events both indoor and outdoor. There was and is no other choice. Our company Capital C: Concerts is literally on 'hold'. Planned events have been shelved by us, artists and their management, venues and other industry connections. Luckily we had nothing touring at present as we have heard of the horrendous complications and logistical nightmares some have had. And a big hooray to those artists who are performing for free by online steaming to the world..... well done!
This post is more about what will occur after the pandemic has gone and the authorities say it is all OK to start socializing at concerts, performances etc of all sizes.
New Zealand will have it's own complexities once the virus has departed. While this is just my opinion, many artists will be desperate to get back onstage but their priority will be to get the bigger venues, dates and populations which are almost exclusively in the Northern Hemisphere and with the exception of Australian dates which too will be limited, our country will be well down the pecking order. Then there will be the artist who will be over cautious in the interim and will be hesitant to get back on the road. Similar happened post 9/11 when many just didn't want to fly for some period. Many venues, suppliers to the entertainment industry (equipment & services) will have gone under with absolutely no work, rentals etc during the virus period, the outcomes of this to will bring its problems as will the staff lay-offs which are already well underway. Who gets the priority?
How will the public react post virus too is an unknown. With the well known phrase, 'cabin fever' being already promoted and a yet unknown period of self containment and isolation invoke will the human need to get out and back into the entertainment 'normality' have undesired consequences? Who knows.
I do believe the virtual world will see new and expanded opportunities as entertainment providers of all sorts scramble to expand and invent new ways to entertain those confined at home etc but will new found habits extend after the dust settles?
The real sadness will be for those artists who are getting older and are on the edge of retiring from the touring circuit, many already with health conditions, who may never again grace the 'boards' and live global audiences of their fans.
For the younger reader...... during extended times at home or other isolation areas take a minute to learn to play a musical instrument, write a song or two, try digital musical software, post your efforts on social media ...... be positive learn and maybe out of this sad time new exciting talent will be discovered.