Concert cancellations blamed on COVID variant leave ticket buyers struggling to get refunds

ByRandall Yip KGO logo
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Ticket sellers hit sour note with fans as concerts are cancelled
Concert cancellations blamed on Delta variant, but some ticket buyers struggle to get refunds.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Hopes for a return to normalcy have been slowed by the COVID-19 Delta variant. The situation is causing some uncertainty for concert-goers.

"All right, the first song is awesome," said Anne Bader of Oakland, as she popped in a CD from The Frames. The alt rock band had scheduled a North American tour.

Bader likes them so much, she had bought tickets to see them in Chicago.

"It's a live show," said Bader.

Unfortunately, travel restrictions forced the band from Ireland to cancel its tour.

RELATED: European Union recommends reinstating COVID-related restrictions on US tourists

Linda Mullen was all set to go to BottleRock on Memorial Day weekend, but the coronavirus pushed the concert to Labor Day.

Mullen and her husband had been excited about seeing one of their favorite bands, the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

But by concert time, the Chili Peppers had been replaced by Chris Stapleton.

"Yeah, he's country. He's country. Neither one of us likes country music," Mullen told 7 On Your Side.

Mullen had bought her tickets through Viagogo, a marketplace that connects ticket buyers with third-party sellers.

Viagogo refused to give her a refund.

VIDEO: Bottlerock returns with sold out crowds despite canceled headliner

The music is playing again in Wine Country, with BottleRock Napa Valley returning after being canceled by coronavirus in 2020.

"I just thought that was kind of a bait-and-switch situation and I wanted my money back," Mullen said.

Viagogo told ABC7 News: "If an event has been rescheduled and tickets are still valid, customers are not entitled to a refund."

It encouraged Mullen to resell her tickets, but she was unsuccessful.

Bader bought her tickets to see The Frames through Ticketmaster.

RELATED: Garth Brooks cancels tour dates due to COVID surge

Ticketmaster offered her a 120% credit for a future event, but the band's own cancellation announcement said "refunds for New York and Chicago can be had at the original point of purchase."

"Why am I being offered a credit when the band said it would issue a refund?" wondered Bader.

She contacted 7 on Your Side. We reached out to Ticketmaster, which decided to give Bader her money back.

Ticketmaster says it has now decided to give ticket buyers an option of a refund or 120% credit.

RELATED: COVID uncertainty leads to Bay Area event cancelations

As for Mullen, she says her experience will make her rethink buying tickets.

"Especially now when everything is so uncertain, it's probably not a good idea," she said.

By the way, Chris Stapleton ended up canceling his appearance at BottleRock the day of the show, citing a non-COVID related illness.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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