Welcome to Sisters In Law, news.com.au’s weekly column solving all your legal problems. This week, attorneys and real-life sisters Alison and Jillian Barrett of Maurice Blackburn advise getting money back after a music festival.
My friends and I went to Splendor in the Grass in Byron last weekend and it was a disaster! We had a weekend ticket with camping and spent more time queuing than enjoying the music. On Friday there was a huge line of cars to enter the camping area which we sat in for over five hours. Then Friday night the main stage music was canceled anyway.
At this point we decided to give up camping and stay with my aunt nearby.
On Saturday there were more queues for buses to enter the festival, then on Saturday night we waited over five hours to get a bus out.
I was exhausted but for all the wrong reasons. What are my rights if I want to get a refund or at least part of my money? – Jasmine, Queensland
As you know, Jasmine, there were thousands of people caught up in the chaos at Splendor in the Grass caused by the unexpected weather event.
The event organizers have now issued a statement indicating that certain refunds (including partial refunds) will be processed for certain ticket holders.
The important question, however, is whether what is on offer is enough?
With all of Friday’s big titles cancelled, event organizers announced they will be providing full refunds to Friday ticket holders – general admission, VIP event tickets, bus tickets and daytime parking.
For those who had three-day festival tickets, a proportional refund would be provided (so one third of the ticket cost).
Finally, the Saturday bus ticket, which you had to wait for more than five hours, will be refunded to you.
Event organizers have not committed to refunding ticket holders for camping permits if ticket holders decide not to stay, or admission, bus, or parking tickets if ticket holders found the rain and mud too much and decided not to attend the event at all. .
To understand if you are entitled to a refund on top of what is offered, you need to understand the basics of Australian consumer law which governs this situation.
Under this law, if there is a problem with a product or service you have paid for, you are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund.
Obviously, in the case of festival tickets, a refund is the only realistic option given that it was a one-time event and has not been rescheduled to another date.
Fortunately, the law outlines certain warranties or warranties that protect you, and a company cannot change those warranties or make you waive your rights.
When you purchased the ticket, there would have been “fine print” that described various terms and conditions that cannot break the law, and if they do, they will not be enforceable by the event organizer .
In short, if the fine print says something like “no refunds under any circumstances”, it will not be enforceable.
The festival ticket agent, Moshtix, should be your first point of call to request a refund for the Friday event ticket and Saturday bus. It should be relatively simple.
The Splendor organizers have urged anyone who feels they are entitled to a higher refund than this to contact them directly.
In your situation, this would relate to a refund of your camping costs given that you chose not to camp and potentially part of the cost of your Saturday ticket if you missed certain acts due to delays with the bus during the trip to the festival.
When you contact the organisers, you must do so in writing and detail the reasons why you believe you are entitled to a refund.
To get a refund, the law states that you must prove that there was a major change or disruption to the event that prevented you from attending or enjoying what was advertised.
Event organizers have a duty to provide a safe environment and venue, so if you had genuine health and safety concerns specific to you and chose not to camp because of these, you could very well be entitled to an additional refund above what is offered.
If you have supporting documents (such as a letter from your doctor), you must also include them in your claim.
A refund would not have to be provided if, for example, your reason for not camping was because you were worried about catching a cold or Covid-19.
Regarding Saturday queues and delays arriving at the festival due to the bus, if you missed part of the event because of this, you will probably have good reason to request a partial refund to represent what you missed.
Finally, if you paid for the tickets with a credit card (or even a debit card), you should immediately consider filing a “chargeback” request with your bank. They can investigate and handle the dispute for you.
You can further investigate your rights by contacting your state consumer agency.
This legal information is general in nature and should not be considered or relied upon as specific legal advice. Persons requiring specific legal advice should consult a lawyer.
If you have a legal question you would like Alison and Jillian answered, please email [email protected]
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