The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) has told event organisers and ticket sellers to adopt a “business as usual” strategy as it released guidance in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.
The UK’s self-regulatory body for the ticketing industry said operators must prepare to host events as planned as the government has not yet issued prohibitions on travel or events.
STAR told members that ticket-buyers are not currently able to claim a refund if they have chosen to self-isolate due to concerns over the virus or whether the event will be cancelled.
It added that, in general, customers that have bought an additional ticket protection product may be able to claim a refund if they have contracted the virus and this can be confirmed by a doctor, or if they are in a high-risk group and are isolating themselves on the orders of a doctor.
“Customers that have bought ticket protection should check directly with the company the product has been bought from about whether they may or may not be able to claim a refund. Precise details will vary from company to company.”
The guidance came as it was revealed this morning (Wednesday) that the London Book Fair has become the first UK event to be cancelled “following the escalation of the Covid-19 Coronavirus in Europe”. The event was due to take place at London Olympia from March 10-12, but as more publishers pulled out, the organisers have taken the major step to cancel.
The UK government this week unveiled a battleplan that includes the possibility of cancelling large-scale public events and gatherings in an attempt to decrease the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.
The number of UK cases rose from 39 to 51 on Tuesday, with 12 of the positive cases having since recovered.
Consumer rights agency Which? has also released guidance to customers that says if tickets were bought directly from the event organiser or primary ticket retailers, such as See Tickets or Ticketmaster, customers will benefit from some consumer protections, though it is unlikely that delivery costs or booking fees will be refunded.
Which? said in a statement: “Unfortunately, you have fewer protections if you purchased tickets from a secondary ticket seller, like Viagogo or StubHub.
“Whichever way you bought your tickets, in the first instance you need to contact the company that sold them to you and request a refund if it doesn’t offer one automatically.”
It also added that if a claim is ignored or refused by the ticketing company, consumers should contact their bank or credit card company to make them aware of the experience and the complaint made.