Consumer rights and the Garth Brooks concerts

Some 160,000 fans purchased not only tickets but many booked hotels and flights for the July concerts

Garth Brooks tickets. Photograph: Collins Photos

Garth Brooks tickets. Photograph: Collins Photos

Thu, Jul 3, 2014, 15:45

Some 160,000 Garth Brooks are fans set to be impacted by the refusal of permission for two of the five Garth Brooks concerts planned for Croke Park on July 28th and 29th.

Fans reacted with concern that they had booked hotels and flights as well as the tickets. So what are they entitled to in the event of concert cancellation?

I purchased tickets for Garth Brooks am I entitled to a refund on the tickets in the event of cancellation?

The Irish Times takes no responsibility for the content or availability of other websites.

Yes you are. This entitlement to is a “done deal” according to Dermot Jewell, policy adviser with the Consumers Association of Ireland.

He advises customers who booked by credit card to ring their credit card company to ensure they will be refunded. Whether you are entitled to associated costs such as booking fee is not yet clear. However Mr Jewel said his organisation argues that the “entire cost of the purchase must be refunded”.

I purchased tickets from an individual third party seller online, am I entitled to a refund?

If you purchased tickets from a third party you have less rights and may have problems getting a refund, according to advice on the National Consumer Agency’s website. For example if the original buyer of the ticket bought it by credit card it may be to their card where the refund is made. If you paid more than face value you won’t get back the extra money you paid.

Irish ticket forum Toutless.ie was advising users that they would have to contact whomever they bought the tickets from or sold the tickets to if they were purchased by credit card. Tickets purchased by cash will probably have to be exchanged at a Ticketmaster kiosk, the site advised.

I booked a hotel to stay in for the Garth Brooks concert, will I still have to pay for it?

You are not automatically entitled to cancel your hotel booking, unless this was booked as part of a package with tickets.

However many websites allow consumers to cancel their booking up to a week or 24-hours before arrival, according to Mr Jewell . However there is a high likelihood consumers will have to pay a percentage of the room price on cancellation, he said. Ultimately consumers made a contract with the hotel and it depends on the terms and conditions of the booking.

The Irish Hotels Federation said its members will try to be as flexible as possible but it will ultimately be a matter for individual management at hotels.

I booked rail tickets to the concert am I entitled to a refund? 
Iarnród Éireann said customers who booked rail travel to attend any Garth Brooks concerts which are cancelled will be refunded for their train bookings in full. 
 

I booked flights from abroad to Ireland for the concert, am I entitled to a refund?

Unfortunately for the vast majority of airline tickets there is no refund entitlement, according to Mr Jewell. Most airlines do not refund the cost of a flight unless the flight has been cancelled.

I have travel insurance, will this cover the costs I have incurred?

This is unlikely because the tickets were purchased ‘subject to licence’, Mr Jewell says. When an insurance company looks at a claim the “first thing” that will jump up is that the claimant is looking for compensation in relation to a concert that was not licenced, he says.

I booked the Garth Brooks concert with a tour operator with hotel/flights as part of a package, am I entitled to a refund?

If you booked concert tickets as the main part of an inclusive package and the event is cancelled, the operator must give you the option of a full refund or replacement, according to the National Consumer Agency.