Ticket refund for rescheduled NASCAR race

October 6, 2011 17:07 by Consumer Ed

Dear Consumer Ed:

I recently purchased a ticket for a NASCAR race in Atlanta.  The race was rained out on the scheduled day of the event (Sunday).  The race was rescheduled for the following Tuesday.  I and many people were unable to attend due to work and kids in school.  When I purchased my tickets from the box office there was no mention that the tickets were non-refundable or could not be exchanged in the event of rain.  There was also no mention of this policy when I picked my tickets up at Will Call or on the paper I signed for receipt.  It was on the tickets, but by then it would have been too late since they had already charged my credit card.  I also checked the website which made no mention of their policy.  Is there a law that protects the consumer in such circumstances?

Consumer Ed says: 

Georgia law does not require ticket providers to issue refunds when events need to be rescheduled.  Any refund or rescheduling policies are governed by the terms and conditions of the ticket provider or the venue itself.  If you purchased your ticket through a ticket broker such as Ticketmaster, that broker is required by law to disclose all relevant terms and conditions, including refund policies, and to provide a full refund to the ticket purchaser if the event is cancelled and not rescheduled. 

Atlanta Motor Speedway provides information regarding its rules and regulations, which can be accessed at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/visitors/rules/.  On the website, the Speedway states that there will be no refunds for any postponement of an event, and that the tickets purchased will be honored on the date that the event is rescheduled.  The website further states that there will be no refunds or exchanges allowed for any reason.  Other ticket brokers’ websites have very similar provisions.

So, before you purchase your ticket for an event, you should always ask the ticket provider and event venue about the terms and conditions of the ticket purchase (these terms and conditions are often found on the provider’s website or on the ticket itself).  The terms of use found on a website where tickets are purchased or on the tickets themselves are considered binding contracts, so the ticket purchaser would be required to adhere to those terms.  If there are no provisions in the seller’s terms and conditions that entitle you to a refund in the event of a cancellation or a rescheduling that you cannot attend, you unfortunately have no recourse.

If you believe a ticket broker failed to comply with the disclosure requirements, you should contact the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission at (404) 656-2868 or by visiting www.sos.ga.gov/gaec/.

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Company billing for service 5 years after purchase

June 22, 2011 17:43 by Consumer Ed

Dear Consumer Ed:

Is there a time limit as to how long from the time of service a company can bill someone?  For example, I received a service in 2006 and was just now billed in 2011.

Consumer Ed says:

There is no general rule that dictates when a company must bill for a service rendered, (although there may be exceptions for specific industries, such as interstate moving companies or medical bills). However, if you have a contract for the service you purchased, you should check it to see whether it specifies the billing terms. If the contract states that the company was supposed to bill you by a certain time, and it failed to do so, then you may not have to pay the bill.

If there is no written contract, or if the contract does not mention a billing period, you may still have some legal recourse, depending on the factors involved. The best thing to do is to speak promptly to an attorney to find out what your rights and obligations are.

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Car dealer delaying paying off trade-in vehicle loan

February 4, 2011 22:09 by Consumer Ed

Dear Consumer Ed:

Are auto dealerships in Georgia required to pay off trade-in vehicles within a certain time frame?

Consumer Ed says:

No, there is not a time frame set by law, although the dealer should not delay once your new loan has been funded.  Remember – until the dealer pays off your old loan, you will remain responsible for maintaining insurance and making all payments on your old vehicle.  As a result, if your new car purchase includes trading in a car with an unpaid lien balance, be sure to get a promise, in writing, from the dealer regarding the trade-in payoff date.  Make sure that it requires the payoff to be made before your next scheduled car payment is due.  Then, follow up with the lender to be sure that the payoff was actually made.

Trading in a vehicle is a convenient option for some consumers.  When done correctly, it allows consumers to leave their trade-ins at the dealership and be responsible for only one payment to one lender.  When done improperly, however, consumers are stuck with two car payments and a trade-in vehicle that may be in the possession of the dealership.  In worst case scenarios, some dealerships have sold the trade-ins before the loans are paid off.

If you find yourself in a situation in which the trade-in loan is not paid, contact a private attorney immediately.  You can also contact the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection at 404-651-8600 or 1-800-869-1123 (toll-free in Georgia, outside of the metro Atlanta calling area).  Failing to deal with the issue could lead to damage to your credit score and a potential lawsuit against you from the company that financed the trade-in.

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