Longitude ticket cancelled with no refund from bank or Ticketmaster

Pricewatch: Mother unaware ticket had been cancelled until son was refused entry

A mother called Fiona Falconer bought her teenage son a ticket to Longitude but his great delight turned to greater sadness when he arrived at the gate and was not allowed in because Ticketmaster had cancelled his ticket.

The saga started on July 14th when Fiona's son "took an early morning bus from Gorey to Marlay Park with his rugby mates to his first festival."

While his friends “passed through the ticket check” without any problems he “was pulled out and told his ticket was not valid”.

So he rang his mam who thought the problem was “a crappy print out of the ticket”.


She logged on to Ticketmaster and sent him a fresh copy of the ticket.

“He queued again and was again rejected. He’s a very patient lad but as you can imagine he was gutted. He went to the ticket desk and was told that his ticket had been cancelled in March.”

Fiona was sure she had not cancelled it and had never received any correspondence in connection with a cancellation, so while her son waited she rang Ticketmaster.

“Eventually I spoke to an agent who said the payment was cancelled by Permanent TSB (my bank) and I should contact them.”

She did.

“They said categorically they had not cancelled the ticket. They did say there had been unusual activity on my card in March which I was aware of but this was not an item identified by me as fraudulent.

“Visa said they had requested information on the transaction from Ticketmaster on May 21st. However they confirmed that this query does not flag the transaction as fraudulent.

“I asked them to check if the payment had been refunded to my account. It had not.”

She went back to Ticketmaster and was again told PTSB had cancelled the ticket.

“I said they hadn’t, She said they had. I asked her when the refund was issued, she couldn’t tell me that. I asked who I contact regarding the cancellation, she couldn’t tell me that.

“I explained I had a devastated teen sitting at the gates for two hours, could I buy him a ticket and sort it out afterwards. She couldn’t do that. It was the most frustrating conversation I’ve ever had. I had no ticket, I had no refund, I had no way of complaining.”

‘Am I some sort of gobs**te?’

While her husband travelled to Dublin to collect the child, she persevered with Ticketmaster and eventually spoke to an agent who gave her an email address. She sent an email that day and again 10 days later. Both were ignored.

“Am I some sort of gobs**te that should just let this huge multinational take my money, screw up my kid’s fun and leave me hanging without any answers or refund?”

We didn’t think so. We contacted Ticketmaster.

We got a statement which said: "We received a chargeback notification from AIB merchant services on 24th March for this transaction and as a result cancelled the tickets as a debit to our account was imminent.

“This is standard practice to protect us from financial loss due to credit card fraud. The customer confirms it was not a fraudulent transaction so why did the card issuer raise a chargeback on their behalf? We believe it is the card issuer that needs to explain their actions.

“If there had been no chargeback notification, there would have been no cancellation of tickets. We can organise a refund for the customer as the funds are held whilst awaiting a chargeback debit.”

So we went back to Fiona who sent us a screenshot of her account on Ticketmaster on the day of the concert showing the ticket without any red flag issues, she sent the e-Ticket issued by Ticketmaster and the receipt.

She sent her Visa card statement showing the purchase but no refund and a letter from Visa confirming that while it did request information on the transaction, the query did not flag the transaction as fraudulent.

We contacted Ticketmaster again and a spokesman sent a statement saying there was “really no change from what we said earlier. If there is a chargeback by the credit card company TM has no option but to cancel the tickets. The issue is between the purchaser and her credit card company.”

So we went back to Fiona. Again we were told her bank was disputing what Ticketmaster was saying.

We went back to Ticketmaster. “The chargeback reason code sent to us was code 30,” the spokesman said.

He explained that a chargeback reason code 30 “is applicable when customers don’t receive the goods or services purchased. It can also be applied to instances in which customers cancel their purchases because they haven’t arrived in the agreed time.”

He said if Ticketmaster gets a chargeback instruction from a bank “it is understood the customer has changed their mind on the purchase for whatever reason and we have to take that at face value.

“Essentially Ticketmaster has been told that the customer is not happy. As such an instruction from the bank suggests that the customer has initiated the action, therefore there would be no reason for Ticketmaster to contact them to check out whether they did or not. But it does mean the bank has said they are not going to honour the transaction.”

He added that Ticketmaster had “no desire to upset or inconvenience any of our customers but the instruction from the bank here was quite clear. Maybe you should be taking to them about what happened.”

So we did, via Fiona. She sent us the following from her bank.

“It wasn’t a chargeback 30 that we requested,” a senior fraud officer said.

“It was a request for a copy of the transaction information under reason code 30. All this is, is a request from us to Ticketmaster to ask for details of the transaction. It is not a chargeback as stated by Ticketmaster.

“At no point did we indicate to Ticketmaster that we would not be honouring the transaction.”

So we went back to Ticketmaster again asking about the chargeback. We also asked where our reader’s money was and wondered if it would at least acknowledge that a child was left standing outside a concert because a ticket was cancelled unknown to either him or his mother?

And we asked if Ticketmaster thought its policies could be modified - via a simple email - to alert people that tickets had been cancelled?

“Ticketmaster believes the problem lies elsewhere,” a spokesman said.

We believe the company is now engaging with our reader’s bank. But all the while it still has our reader’s money and her son has still missed out on his first big concert.