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Coronavirus: can I get a refund if a gig, festival or other NYC event is canceled?

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

Coronavirus FAQs: latest advice and travel information

With a state of emergency in New York City, event planners are canceling large-scale gatherings to help stop the spread of coronavirus (see the latest news, advice and travel information here). By now, you’re probably wondering what’s going to happen to tickets you bought to a gig, festival or sports event taking place over the next few weeks. Will yours be affected? And if so, will you be entitled to a refund? Here’s everything you should know if your big-ticket event gets called off.

Will my event be canceled?

It’s likely, given a long list of events that have been canceled and venues that have closed in NYC, especially now that Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a statewide ban on gatherings of more than 500 people.

All Broadway shows, for example, have been canceled because of that, as have big concerts like Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden and all March shows at Carnegie Hall, and museum programming is off at The Met and MoMA.

Be sure to check your event’s website to find out its plans.

Will I be entitled to a full refund?

Many venues and events are saying they’ll issue full refunds as they cancel their plans.

If you bought your tickets from an official retailer like Ticketmaster, you should automatically receive a full face-value refund, though postage and booking fees are unlikely to be included. You should also be entitled to a refund if the event is postponed and rearranged to a date you can’t make.

If you bought from a ticket-reselling website such as StubHub, refund policies vary and buyers tend to have fewer protections, though Stubhub says it’ll give a coupon worth 120% of your original order when an event is canceled. You can also elect to get a refund of the original order amount to the original payment method.

People with tickets for Broadway performances through April 12 can contact their points of purchase to get refunds and exchanges for the canceled performances, and the same is true of many museums.

Carnegie Hall and The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts say they’ll refund to the method of payment used.

What should I do to get my money back?

If your refund doesn’t come through automatically, you should get in touch with the seller directly and request one. If the company ignores or refuses your claim, you should then get in touch with your bank or credit card company.

If you’ve paid using a credit card, you have extra protections under the Fair Credit Billing Act, though policies and requirements vary from card to card.

If you’ve paid using a debit card, you can ask your bank to reverse a transaction (in a process known as a “chargeback”). However, a seller can dispute a chargeback, and there’s no law guaranteeing you’ll get your money back in this case.

Will my hotel and travel costs be reimbursed, too?

In the event you’ve already paid for transport and accommodation you no longer need because an event has been called off, get in touch with the firms you’ve booked through. They may be able to offer refunds or let you rebook for another date. Again, however, you don’t have any legal protection here and, unfortunately, refunds aren’t guaranteed.

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