Can You Get Refunds From Cancelled Music Festivals Or Concerts?
Good Vibes became bad vibes for many Malaysian music lovers when the biggest local music festival was cancelled due to the actions of British indie band, The 1975 and their outspoken lead singer Matty Healy.
In these instances where concerts or festivals are cancelled, as a consumer, you should be entitled to a refund. While the organisers of Good Vibes have released a statement saying that they will provide refund mechanics, getting a refund is not always that straightforward.
In the unfortunate event that you’re faced with a cancellation, it’s important to know what rights you have as a ticket holder and what actions you can take to ensure that you get the refund that you deserve.
Are you entitled to a refund?
Before we get to how you can go about getting a refund, it’s important to establish whether you’re entitled to one in the first place.
In most cases, organisers will not provide refunds if you are unable to attend. For example, if on the day of the concert, you got into an accident and weren’t able to attend, then it’s unlikely that you can demand a refund.
If the concert was rescheduled and you are unable to attend or if it was cancelled, you might have a chance to get back the face value of the tickets or a partial refund, but it would be at the discretion of the organisers.
There are laws against unfair cancellations
You might think that as a consumer, you’re at the mercy of organisers to get a refund. But surprisingly, Malaysia has implemented laws that aim to help deal with unfair cancellations from organisers and give you a chance to get your money back.
When you buy a ticket, you’d probably come across the following terms and conditions when you’re registering for the event or on the ticket itself:
“The organiser reserves the right to cancel or postpone the event without prior notice. The organiser will not be responsible for any loss or inconvenience caused.”
What that essentially means is that you’ve entered a contract with the organiser that gives them the right to cancel the event and not be held responsible for it. If that sounds unfair, you’re not alone to think that.
The government made an addition to the Consumer Protection Act 1999 (CPA) to deal with unfair contract terms under Section 24D(1)(e), which makes it illegal for organisers to limit their responsibility for breaking their promises to you within the contract.
Section 24D of the Consumer Protection Act 1999 (in part)
(1) A contract or a term of a contract is substantively unfair if the contract or the terms of the contract—
(e) excludes or restricts liability for breach of express or implied terms of the contract without adequate justification.
So unless the organisers can provide good justification for the cancellation, they should compensate the customer for the ticket.
What you need to do if you think you deserve a refund
Before you take any action, check Section 24D(2) of the CPA to make sure that the cancellation or changes towards the event you’re attending were done unfairly.
If you think that you’ve got a case for a refund and the organisers are not giving it to you, then there are a couple of things that you can do.
Make a complaint to the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs
The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs say that if you have a legitimate complaint from a concert or festival experience, you can file a complaint to them via e-Aduan or ezAdu on iOS/Android.
When you file a complaint on the platform, if it’s considered invalid, the case will be automatically closed. But if the complaint is valid, then an investigation will be conducted on the organiser to determine if it falls under the jurisdiction of the ministry.
File a claim with the Malaysian Consumer Claims Tribunal
Another avenue that you can explore is to file a claim with the Malaysian Consumer Claims Tribunal (MCCT) that includes a complete description and evidence of the unfair treatment.
The tribunal will then request a hearing for the claimant (the person who filed it) and respondent (the person/entity that’s being claimed against) to attend a hearing without lawyers. If the tribunal finds that you deserve compensation, you will be awarded by the respondent.
Sue the organiser with a class action lawsuit
Filing a class action lawsuit against the organiser is also something that you can do, but be warned, it will involve a lot of time and costs. You will need to gather enough participants to want to get compensation and share the cost of the lawsuit (lawyers, etc.).
While there have been cases where consumers were able to win lawsuits, such as the True Fitness lawsuit, it might be a long time before you can even see the results as the arbitration can go on for years.
Not being able to go to an event, concert, or festival that you’ve planned for can be a bummer. But it doesn’t mean that you should just accept your losses.
Use whatever resources available to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve as a consumer with the resources we’ve provided.
Not sure what to do for the weekends? Checking out our Experience Japan In Malaysia With No Budget to send the festival blues away.