Live Nation Entertainment-owned companies have been providing refunds to some music fans who now regret buying tickets to see the embattled band Hedley live in concert.
But subsidiaries of the music industry giant have also been denying refund requests for others, leaving some formerly ardent fans of the band to debate whether they should accept a loss and boycott the concert they’d paid to see.
The Vancouver pop rockers have been under fire since sexual misconduct allegations began surfacing online two weeks ago, suggesting inappropriate encounters with young fans. Hedley has called the allegations “unsubstantiated” but said in a statement that in the past they “engaged in a lifestyle that incorporated certain rock ‘n’ roll cliches.”
Ruqayyah Bobat said she was pleased to receive a refund for a ticket to an Ottawa concert last week after starting an online petition calling on the venue to give customers the option of getting their money back.
“How could I attend a concert in good conscience knowing that these stories could be true?” said the 24-year-old psychology student, who had been a Hedley fan since she was a teenager.
“I would not want to put my hard-worked money into a band that’s being scrutinized for such horrible allegations.”
Ticketmaster Canada did not respond to a request for comment when asked to clarify its refund policy for concerts on Hedley’s cross-Canada tour.
Online correspondence between Ticketmaster and ticket buyers reviewed by The Canadian Press reveals differing responses to refund requests.
One customer who asked Ticketmaster for their money back on Twitter was directly messaged by the company’s fan support account and told they would receive a full refund within a few business days, according to screen-captured exchanges.
Meanwhile, a customer who asked for a refund over email for Hedley’s show in Summerside, P.E.I., was told her request had been denied because the band “is still scheduled to perform and refunds are not available.”
A Ticketmaster representative also emailed another person inquiring about a refund for a Kingston, Ont., concert to say that “sadly, there are no refunds” and directed the consumer to a ticket reseller website. But a refund was offered — within an hour — after the consumer publicly called out Ticketmaster on Twitter asking why the company would force them to financially support the band under the circumstances.
Ticketmaster Canada’s typical “fan guarantee” policy states that tickets purchased for events at participating venues are fully refundable within three days of purchase, up until one week before the event. Exceptions include VIP tickets and other premium packages.
Lise Touchette said it took a lot of effort, but she was relieved to receive a refund for expensive VIP tickets for her daughter and friends to attend Hedley’s Ottawa concert.
Although her receipt clearly stated “no refunds,” a determined Touchette sent several emails trying to get her money back and waited a few days for news. She was told on the morning of the concert that her refund had been approved.
A spokesperson for the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which operates TD Place, where the Hedley show was staged, said in an email that “all refunds were at the discretion of Live Nation.”