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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