I was refused a refund after shambles at Michael Bublé concert | Consumer affairs

Can you help me get compensation for hundreds of people left out of pocket after a Michael Bublé concert was badly mismanaged? I bought five tickets for the event at Waddesdon Manor on 2 July. It was supposed to be a picnic-style affair with food stalls, and Ticketmaster had stated that people could bring folding chairs.

A week before, customers were then told by email that no chairs would be allowed. Some of my group had health issues which would have made it untenable to sit on the ground or stand for the duration. When I complained to Ticketmaster, I was told that I was not due a refund because the concert was going ahead. We therefore ended up not going. For those that did, it was just the beginning of the nightmare.

A lack of traffic management meant people spent hours in gridlock and missed the performance. Some were turned back because the jams meant they reached the gates after their allocated time slot. The concert was organised by Senbla, which failed to address requests for refunds. Ticketmaster says that since the event is over, no refund is due. I’ve lodged a claim for £396 I spent on tickets with the small claims court, but there are many more who will be out of pocket.
REO, Aylesbury, Bucks

It would appear that the organisers sold tickets to more people than could be efficiently managed in the usual way at this rural site. Thames Valley Police tweeted that it had talked to the organisers to prevent similar traffic chaos recurring.

Folding chairs were banned to make space for the estimated 10,000 people who were expected to turn up. And the logistical planning was so poor some customers reported spending up to three hours in traffic jams which clogged up the nearby A41, while others claim they were sent to the wrong place by misleading directions.

So far, so bad. Worse has been the response of the main parties, which blame each other for the fiasco. Senbla told me it was the traffic management of Waddesdon Manor that was to blame. The management of Waddesdon Manor approved the traffic plan, according to Senbla.

The organisers said the traffic management was addressed in the following three shows at the venue, when there were no problems. It blamed the misunderstanding about seating on a “clerical error” on the part of Ticketmaster and on customers who failed to check Senbla’s terms and conditions.

It said: “The scaling of the Michael Bublé concert from a ticketing point of view was different to other shows at that venue. As such, it was a health and safety hazard to have chairs. On Senbla and our co-promoter’s website, it clearly stated no chairs were allowed for this event.”

Ticketmaster told me it swiftly corrected the error on its website and emailed customers with the updated information before the concert. Waddesdon Manor had stated on its website that its staff had not been involved in the organisation of the event, but declined my request for a comment.

One thing all parties seemed agreed on was that there would be no refunds. A Facebook page has been set up by those affected and nearly 1,800 people have signed a petition demanding a refund. That changed after I weighed in.

The day after I contacted Ticketmaster, it told me you would be refunded in full, as would any other affected customer who got in touch. You were also promised that you would be reimbursed the £50 fee you had to pay to lodge your court claim.

Senbla told me it would be offering alternative tickets or refunds where applicable to complainants who contacted it directly, and you report that some of those on the Facebook group have now been told their refunds are being processed.

This looks like a depressing case of companies trying to maximise profits at the expense of punters, and only capitulating under media scrutiny.

More tales of corporate kindness …

I wanted to add to the list of corporate kindnesses in last week’s Observer. I broke the lid of a Le Creuset teapot and asked if the company could sell me a spare lid. I received a whole new teapot for no charge in the post the following week (and they are not cheap)!
PS, London

For our holiday in the Outer Hebrides in 2020, we booked a car from Carhire Hebrides at Stornoway Airport. When Covid lockdowns prevented travel, this hire was deferred to the following year. In 2021, we both went down with the virus two days before our flight and, without a quibble, Carhire Hebrides refunded the full cost. We rebooked for this July. Alas, our connecting flight to the island was cancelled after we’d reached Glasgow airport and, without a suitable alternative, we had to return home. Carhire they told us a refund was on its way. A decent, honourable company. Hurrah!
MS, London

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