I was denied a refund after the chaos at the Michael Bublé concert | consumer affairs

Can you help me get compensation for hundreds of people who were left out of pocket after a poorly organized Michael Bublé concert? I bought five tickets for the event at Waddesdon Manor on July 2nd. It was going to be some kind of picnic with food stalls, and Ticketmaster had said people could bring folding chairs.

A week earlier, customers were then emailed to say no chairs were allowed. Some of my group had health issues that would have made sitting or standing on the floor for long periods of time unsustainable. When I complained to Ticketmaster I was told I was not entitled to a refund as the concert was going on. So we ended up not going. For those who did, it was just the beginning of the nightmare.

A lack of traffic management meant people sat at a standstill for hours and missed the performance. Some were turned away for reaching the gates after their allotted time slot due to the traffic jams. The concert was organized by Senbla, which did not respond to refund requests. Ticketmaster says no refund is due since the event ended. I have lodged a claim with Small Claims Court for £396 that I spent on tickets but there is plenty more that will be out of pocket.
REO, Aylesbury, Bucks

It seems that the organizers sold tickets to more people than could be efficiently handled in the usual way in this rural location. Thames Valley Police tweeted they had spoken to organizers to prevent a similar traffic chaos from happening again.

Folding chairs were banned to make room for the estimated 10,000 people who were expected. And the logistical planning was so poor that some customers reported spending up to three hours in traffic jams clogging the nearby A41, while others claimed misleading directions sent them to the wrong place.

So far so bad. Worse was the reaction of the main parties, who blame each other for the fiasco. Senbla told me Waddesdon Manor traffic control was to blame. According to Senbla, management at Waddesdon Manor approved the traffic plan.

According to the organizers, traffic management was addressed at the venue for the following three shows, with no problems encountered. She blamed the seating misunderstanding on a “typo” on Ticketmaster’s part and on customers failing to check Senbla’s terms and conditions.

It said: “The scaling of the Michael Bublé concert from a ticketing perspective was different than other shows at this venue. So having chairs was a health and safety hazard. It was clearly stated on Senbla and our co-organiser’s website that no chairs would be allowed for this event.”

Ticketmaster informed me that they quickly corrected the error on their website and emailed customers ahead of the concert with the updated information. Waddesdon Manor had stated on its website that its staff had not been involved in organizing the event but declined my request for comment.

All parties seemed to agree 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 myself.

The day after I contacted Ticketmaster I was told that you would be fully refunded as was every other affected customer who contacted you. You were also promised that you would be reimbursed for the £50 fee you had to pay to bring your case to court.

Senbla told me that if necessary it would offer alternative tickets or refunds to complainants who contacted it directly and you report that some of those in the Facebook group have now been told that their refunds are being processed.

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

More stories about business friendliness…

I wanted to add to last week’s list of company kindnesses observer. I broke the lid on a Le Creuset teapot and asked if the company could sell me a replacement lid. I received a brand new teapot in the mail the following week for free (and they don’t come cheap)!
P.S. London

We booked a car for our 2020 holiday in the Outer Hebrides Car Hire Hebrides at Stornoway Airport. When Covid lockdowns prevented travel, this cessation was postponed to the following year. In 2021 we both fell ill with the virus two days before our flight and have no ifs or buts Carhire Hebrides will reimburse the full cost. We have rebooked for this July. Unfortunately our connecting flight to the island was canceled after reaching Glasgow Airport and we had to return home with no suitable alternative. Carhire told us a refund was on the way. A decent, honorable company. Hooray!
MS, London

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