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Concert-goers bemoan shifting event refunds

Ticketmaster, the sole ticketing partner for the John Paul Jones Arena, has walked back a policy to no longer offer full refunds for rescheduled events.

Late last week, Ticketmaster said it would only offer refunds for events that have been formally canceled.

However, this decision did not sit well with those who had purchased tickets to events now in flux because of the the coronavirus pandemic.

After online backlash, Ticketmaster again updated its policies earlier this week, now offering full refunds for postponed events that have set a new date.

In a written statement, Ticketmaster President Jared Smith said that more than 30,000 of the 55,000 events scheduled to take place nationally between March 1 and the end of the year have been postponed or canceled, putting the company in a difficult position.

“To be clear, Ticketmaster intends to refund as many tickets as possible in as timely a fashion as is feasible,” Smith wrote. “We are working every day towards that goal.”

However, some consumers, such as Hunter Durham, who purchased tickets to a postponed event at JPJ, take issue with the new policy.

Durham said his event has yet to be rescheduled, leaving him in a limbo where he cannot receive a refund. Durham also said he has been unable to get in contact with Ticketmaster due to busy phone lines and an online chat system that appears to have been shut down.

“If something is indefinitely postponed, it’s a little too cute to say, ‘we’re postponing this,’” he said. “I think it’s a little disingenuous to say we’re postponing an event when no one has any idea when venues will be able to open again.”

Smith acknowledges that the pandemic puts large venues — JPJ can seat 15,000 — in a tough predicament but said he wished the University of Virginia site would be more transparent with consumers.

JPJ, like many venues across the country, works in tandem with Ticketmaster, promoters and artists to coordinate events.

As stay-at-home orders change, parties remain in uncertain territory, according to Jason Pedone, general manager of JPJ.

“This is a complex and unprecedented scenario that continues to evolve daily, requiring coordination with many organizations on a national scale,” Pedone said in an email to The Daily Progress. “Therefore, Ticketmaster, our sole ticketing partner, has the latest and best information on every event at ticketmaster.com.”

Per Ticketmaster’s site, the company is coordinating with organizers to reschedule 14,000 events and says that Live Nation and AEG have begun the process of refunding all events.

Refund policies for the three appear largely identical, offering ticket holders the opportunity to obtain refunds on shows that have been postponed starting on May 1. Ticket holders will have 30 days to request a refund on all rescheduled shows.

Ticket holders who purchased via Ticket Master also can choose to receive a $150 credit for canceled or postponed shows to be applied toward a future Live Nation venue show, donate their refund amount to a charity, or give their ticket to a health care worker. According to Live Nation, they also will match ticket donations.

However, many postponed shows have not yet been rescheduled, leaving many ticket holders in a refund lurch.

Other local venues in Charlottesville, such as the Jefferson Theatre, the Southern and the Sprint Pavilion, sell tickets through TicketsToday, which appears to have a similar refund policy for postponed shows but did not respond to requests for comment.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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