Event organisers looking at ‘legal’ issues after Lance Armstrong withdrawal
Consumer organisation says disgruntled ticket holders have strong case for refund
Disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong was scheduled to be the final keynote speaker at the day-long the sport and tech conference Friday. Photograph: Cooper Neill/Getty Images
People looking for a refund for their tickets for Friday’s One Zero event after Lance Armstrong suddenly withdrew have been left in limbo after organisers say they have “legal things to look at”.
Tickets for the event at the RDS, which had a capacity for 1,000 people, ranged in price from €175 for general admission, €475 for premium seating, and €775 for the VIP package.
The disgraced American cyclist was scheduled to be the final keynote speaker at the day-long the sport and tech conference on Friday.
Armstrong, who stripped of his seven Tour de France wins in 2012, cancelled late on Thursday evening on “the advice of his legal team” due to the upcoming “Federal court case brought against him on behalf of the US Postal Service. ”
Richie Barrett, co-founder of One Zero, said on Thursday night there would be no refunds.
He told Newstalk’s Off the Ball show the “conference was bigger than that” and Armstrong was one of more than 30 speakers at the event.
“We sold tickets on the basis that this was One Zero sports and tech conference – there are 37 speakers, 20 international… Glastonbury is about more than Beyoncé, One Zero is about more than Lance.”
However, another co-founder Rob Hartnett said on Friday morning he could not confirm there would be no refunds.
“The show goes on, there are a number of legal things we need to look at. But at this stage I cannot say that we definitely won’t.” he said.
Mr Hartnett told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland “a very small number” of people had complained about the withdrawal of Armstrong from the One Zero Conference and were looking for their money back.
Mr Hartnett said the organisers had serious doubts at the beginning about inviting Armstrong to participate in the event.
“We gave it a lot of consideration, we took the view that talking to him is the only way to get to the bottom if the issue of cheating in sport. He is not the first to cheat in sport and he won’t be the last.”
A spokeswoman for One Zero told Irish Times on Friday afternoon there would be no refunds given based solely on the withdrawal of Lance Armstrong from the event.
“Organisers are disappointed at Lance Armstrong’s withdrawal but he was just one of the many scheduled speakers,” she said.
A spokesman for the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) said as a statutory enforcement body it was not in a position to answer queries about specific companies but could offer general advice for consumers.
He said if a ticket holder was unhappy they should check the terms and conditions to see if a full refund is possible.
“If a consumer is not entirely satisfied and believe the price of the ticket should be refunded, they should write to the company, outline their issue and formally request a refund,” he said.
Consumers’ Association of Ireland’s policy adviser Dermott Jewell said because the event has a number of speakers it would make getting a refund more complex.
However, he said as Armstrong was being promoted as a headline act it gave the ticket holder a strong case.
“This will come down to the best practice and the best deal the organisers will put forward to those that are disappointed,” he said.
Mr Jewell said ticket holders looking for refund should apply in writing.
“They should outline very clearly the reason they purchased the ticket, if it is the case that Armstrong was the only reason they wanted to go and could see no other reason to attend the event,” he said.
He said the number of people requesting a refund might influence the outcome.
“If it’s a small few it would be best practice to give them the refund,” he said.
“Claims - if they’re not met with some sort of an offer of a refund - I would be fairly sure that there they would be quite a degree of activity into the small claims court.”