Consumer experts believe Irish rugby fans will be entitled to refunds for tickets purchased for the postponed Ireland-France rugby international.
The Six Nations game was delayed on Monday amid fears over the spread of coronavirus.
In a statement released on Monday, the French rugby federation (FFR) said it was inviting spectators to keep their match tickets, which will “remain valid and allow access to the meeting when it is played at a later date”.
Ticketing policy is implemented by the union of the home nation hosting a particular match. The FFR and Six Nations Rugby did not respond to queries about refunds, but unions have offered refunds to fans after previously cancelled matches in this year’s tournament.
After Ireland's home match against England, the IRFU said it would provide ticket holders with tickets for the rescheduled fixture, as well as the Under 20 and women's matches, or a refund if desired. Similarly, England's RFU said refunds would be available on request to original ticket purchasers for its cancelled game against Italy in Rome.
Adam French, a consumer rights expert with Which?, said fans "should be entitled to a refund on their match ticket if they cannot make the new date". He said any fan who encounters difficulties in getting a refund from their ticket seller should contact their credit or debit card provider to see if a chargeback or claim under consumer rights legislation is possible.
Airlines and accommodation
However, he warned it may be more difficult to salvage something from airlines or hotel or other accommodation providers, especially given the proximity of the event.
“Unfortunately it will be harder to get a refund on any travel or accommodation booked for the match, unless these were purchased as part of a package deal.”
Dermot Jewell, policy adviser with the Consumer Association of Ireland, said individual hotels or airlines may cut deals with rugby fans, but he advised that people should try to get in touch directly with their accommodation provider and be prepared to bargain.
“The potential is a booking can be remade for another date, but most consumers are going to find themselves trying to negotiate, barter and find the best result they can. Go with some alternatives in mind; it makes much more sense to try and negotiate personally. If you can ring someone, do it,” he said, pointing out that reserving for a rescheduled match date may be an option.
He said consumers should check the terms of their insurance policy. While most travel insurance is basic, a more complete policy may have been sold under a health or home insurance, he said.