Crowd at a concert at night.
Reviewed on 18 August 2021

Coronavirus: Refunds for cancelled events

Your questions answered.

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.

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. Restrictions on public gatherings apply to all events regardless of whether an event is 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.

If the 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.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

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Member comments

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David L.
24 Sep 2021
Show still on but can't attend due to Auckland lockdown

What happens if the event is still happening (exhibition at Te Papa), but I can't attend due to Level 3 in Auckland? Can I still get a refund from the ticket seller (I would think it's unlikely given that the event is still happening), and if not can I then get some kind of refund from the government as they are the ones stopping me from attending and it's not within my control?

Heta T.
04 May 2020
Ticketek and Iticket and Air BnBRefunds

I've received refunds on my ticketek and I-ticket events and also the air BnB night however air nz are offering me credits on three return flights (2 domestic & 1 to Australia) but I will need to pay the difference if the fare is a different amount. Also like to mention that I had made three separate car parking bookings at Auckland Car Park, the refund was in my credit card within minutes of me cancelling the booking online.

Maree G.
22 Apr 2020
Update to 17 April

This morning I received an email from Ticketek and a full refund to my credit card. This was in reply to my previous email so I'm not sure if everyone has their refunds yet or not. But thought it was only fair to update my initial comment.

Maree G.
17 Apr 2020
Ticketek not refunding or communicating

On 18 March I got an email from Ticketek saying they were postponing all Showbiz 2020 season shows and I would be 'contacted in due course by Ticketek to offer flexible choices, including Flexi tickets, ticket exchange, a refund.'
I emailed them on 28/3 saying I wanted a full refund. No reply. I emailed then again on the 7/4 via the Ticketet website and got the 'you will receive a reply shortly … ' reply but 10 days later nothing.
I know these are difficult times but Ticketmaster managed to fully refund Book of Mormon tickets within a week of their email saying they would do so.
I have over $1000 worth of tickets ( 4 people to 3 shows during 2020) and I would like a full refund. Ticketek need to improve their communication with customers. It's a month since their first email and they should have processed the refunds by now.

May L.
08 Apr 2020
Air New Zealand - credits or refunds?

I had several domestic Air New Zealand flights booked and paid for this year.
As these flights are no longer available or banned under the travel limitations I have been to the AirNZ website and cancelled them, however there seems to be no refund option available. They just create a credit which must be used prior to March 2021.
Is this legal?
How can they get away without offering the choice of a refund on the fares paid?

Consumer staff
16 Apr 2020
Re: Air New Zealand - credits or refunds?

Hi May,

If you bought the (more expensive) fully refundable tickets, you should be refunded.

If you bought cheaper non-refundable tickets and/or Grabaseat, that is when you tend to be offered credit, valid for a set period.

Check the terms and conditions of your ticket (also referred to as Conditions of Carriage) and that will set out the remedies available to you in the event that your flight has been cancelled due to the virus. 

The Civil Aviation Act 1990 rights for flight cancellations do not apply to Air New Zealand in this Covid 19 situation.

Kind regards,
Maggie - Consumer NZ adviser

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.

Andrew H.
21 Aug 2021
Ticketmaster slow to refund

I had tickets for a gig with Ticketmaster which was cancelled. They gave themselves a very generous amount of time to refund (10 business days) and stated refunds would be automatic, but failed to refund. They refunded only after I emailed to demand a refund.
In an age of automation, I find it ludicrous that refunds can't be provided in a timely way. After all, the original booking process is entirely automated, and processes within a minute or two.
On balance of probability, I think it's most likely a deliberate, and borderline fraudulent business practice - force customers to apply manually for refunds, and retain the cash from those who don't.