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Sunday, 15 November 2020 17:21

Help! The Governor's Ball Offered Me a Refund But Then Reneged

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Problem Solved

 This year's Governor's Ball Music Festival is canceled. But when Tala Cohen tries to get a refund, the organizers say it's too late -- she can only get a $330 credit. What gives?

Q: I had purchased tickets to the Governor's Ball Music Festival in New York, which cost me $330. I received an email on March 26 that it was canceled due to the COVID-19 virus. In the email, it said to click a link for refund information. But when I initially saw the email about the cancellation I didn't click the link right away as I was still sad about the cancellation and processing the news. 

On April 14, I clicked the link to refund information, which is actually a series of clicks and links before it actually brings you to the page with the information you need. It said that refunds were only allowed to be requested until April 10. 

There was supposed to be a refund button on my order page if I requested a refund in the short time period they had allotted. But by the time I tried to get my refund, the button was no longer there. The Governor's Ball only gave two weeks after the announcement of the cancellation of the festival to request a refund. Otherwise, they would credit you for next year's festival. This was an inadequate amount of time to request a refund. Other festivals give at least a month if not a couple of months. 

The actual deadline to request a refund was not shown on the email or social media statements they posted, and even in the link information you had to click another link within that page to find out. 

I messaged the festival's Instagram account explaining that I need to request a refund. I told them I didn't know about the short deadline until it was too late. I also said my family really needs the money right now.

They sent me the most generic response that made me think they didn't even read the email. They said that I missed the refund deadline and that I can use my order to attend next year's festival. 

I would like to receive a refund for my Governor's Ball ticket order. It is highly likely that I would not be able to attend next year's festival. Can you help? -- Tala Cohen, Hamden, Conn.

A: The Governor's Ball should have given you more time to decide between a refund and ticket credit. It should have also clearly disclosed the deadline for deciding. And most importantly, it should have made the default a refund, not a ticket credit.

It's strange because the <a href="">Governor's Ball site</a> is crystal-clear about its refund policy.

"All refund requests MUST be done by Friday, April 10th, 2020," it notes. "All refunds will be processed in as little as 30 days from when the request period ends."

But your initial email made no reference to the deadline, by your account. It's possible that after my inquiries, the music festival clarified its refund policy. That sometimes happens with our cases.

Your case serves as an important reminder to act quickly when a company offers a refund. You can't assume the offer will last forever. (In fact, it rarely does.) Looking back, you probably wish you'd taken a little less time to process the cancellation news. You missed your deadline by only four days.

I've seen a lot of businesses do what the Governor's Ball did. Remember, they want to do everything they can to keep your money. So from their perspective, imposing a short deadline and automatically choosing a credit makes perfect sense -- at least financially. But it makes zero sense from a customer service perspective. 

Unfortunately, it's difficult to escalate a problem to a manager at the Governor's Ball Music Festival. It only publishes a generic email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., for contacts. 

I reached out to the Governor's Ball on your behalf. After several weeks, a manager contacted you and agreed to refund your $330 as "an exception."

Last modified on Monday, 16 November 2020 22:33