What does SXSW, Google’s annual developer conference, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo have in common? They’ve all been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
The World Health Organization has officially declared the COVID-19 a pandemic, and the city of Philadelphia has announced a ban on public gatherings of 1,000 people or more. They also recommended the cancellation or postponement of any gathering of more than 250 people. As a precaution, plenty of events within the region are getting canceled, from concerts to conferences to sporting events.
What happens if you bought a ticket to one of those occasions? We explain below.
However, refunds aren’t guaranteed. Eventbrite lets organizers set their own refund policies, making “no refunds” a policy option. In light of the coronavirus, Eventbrite has announced on its website that organizers should offer refunds (i.e. aren’t required) for canceled events. They are offering to help any organizer who needs help with refund processing, and encourage ticket-holders to reach out directly to individual organizers.
For tickets bought online, most cancellation refunds are automatically processed to the same card used for purchase. Timing will vary; check with the ticket distributor to learn more.
Ticketmaster states that all refunds should be received within seven to 10 business days. StubHub is offering ticket-holders two options: a refund within two to three weeks of processing, or a StubHub coupon worth 120% of the initial purchase price, received in one to two days.
Once Eventbrite organizers begin the refund process, ticket buyers can expect to see the money within five to seven business days.
Smaller venues and local organizations may require you to get in touch before a refund is processed. The Penn Museum, for example, is calling individual ticket-holders. But for an immediate refund, they also encourage ticket-holders to contact the museum’s public engagement department (215-898-2680 or email@example.com). If you’re not sure where to start, contact the venue’s box office.
You’re a lot less likely to secure a refund if an event isn’t officially called off. Neither Ticketmaster nor StubHub offer refunds if an event is still scheduled as planned.
If tickets were purchased directly through a venue, call the box office. Some organizations might be more flexible or offer alternatives. The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts states on its website, “If you are feeling ill or are not comfortable attending your ticketed performance due to the coronavirus situation, we will offer fee-free ticket exchanges.”
If you’re accident-prone and think you might suddenly break both your legs, buy ticket insurance. But if you have coronavirus anxiety, it isn’t going to offer much help.
Both StubHub and Ticketmaster sell optional insurance through a third party called Allianz Ticket Insurance. A rep from the company confirmed that while this will help you in the event of an “emergency situation,” like a death in the family or a serious injury, it doesn’t cover coronavirus concerns.
StubHub advises those who aren’t comfortable attending an event to try to sell their tickets. Ticket-holders can re-list them on StubHub’s online platform for free, but StubHub will take a 15% cut of the profit if sold.