It’s nearly a month since the band’s Auckland concert was cancelled, and the refunds were promised to arrive weeks ago.
This story was updated at 3pm, April 28, to include a full statement from Ticketmaster…
The email came on the afternoon of March 30. Its contents were no surprise. After the tragic death of drummer Taylor Hawkins, rock band and regular Aotearoa visitors Foo Fighters announced they were cancelling their world tour, including an Auckland show set for December 17 at Western Springs Stadium.
“It is with great sadness that Foo Fighters confirm the cancellation of all upcoming tour dates in light of the staggering loss of our brother Taylor Hawkins,” the email read. “We’re sorry for and share in the disappointment that we won’t be seeing one another as planned.
“Instead, let’s take this time to grieve, to heal, to pull our loved ones close, and to appreciate all the music and memories we’ve made together.”
Sent out by Ticketmaster, the email went on to offer intricate details about refunds. New Zealand fans had given the ticketing company millions of dollars to scoop up Foo Fighters tickets, with general admission passes costing nearly $200 each.
Many would very much appreciate having their money back, and could probably put it to good use, possibly putting it toward tickets for some of the avalanche of concerts that are being announced in the country.
“Automatic refunds can take up to 3-5 business days to be processed to the card that was used to complete the transaction, once processed, please allow a further 3-5 business days for the funds to appear on your statements,” Ticketmaster said in its March email.
So, at best case, a little more than a week. Worst case? Two weeks.
Three weeks later, fans started getting angsty. They took to Facebook, posting angry messages under every post Ticketmaster made on the social media site, even the ones not related to Foo Fighters. They asked where their refunds were, raged at the delays and questioned the lack of communication.
“Why am I still waiting for my Foo Fighters refund?” wrote one fan under a post about a 7 Days comedy tour. “It’s been weeks. I have rung, emailed and on Messenger contacted the bank and it has not been received from you. But I get the same reply over and over and over again: ‘It has been paid’. It has not.”
This continued for days, with no response from Ticketmaster. Fans made suggestions, and swapped tips, like asking the bank to cancel credit card payments for the tickets. Others claimed the same thing was happening for cancelled Jimmy Barnes and Fat Freddy’s Drop shows.
Full disclosure: I’m waiting for a refund too. I’ve seen the Foo Fighters live more than a dozen times, including their opening slot for Sonic Youth here in 1996. I probably don’t need to see them again, but after two years in and out of lockdown the thought of standing in a grassy field with a warm beer swaying around to ‘Everlong’ was too good to pass up.
On Friday, 23 days after the event was cancelled, Ticketmaster finally broke its silence to the thousands of others waiting to get their money back. “Please bear with us,” the update read. “We have investigated and found an issue with our payment provider who experienced an outage when trying to process a bulk of refunds.”
Ahead of the long Anzac Weekend, Ticketmaster apologised and promised money would be in bank accounts this week. It initially tried to process the refunds on April 8. Now, on April 22, it was trying again. “Rest assured we are doing everything possible at our end to get refunds back to fans.”
It’s now Thursday morning, and there’s still no sign of my money. Fans are still raging on Facebook, requesting updates, comments, or any kind of communication. “What’s happening?” asked one. It’s a great question, one Ticketmaster won’t answer: I’ve tried contacting them for comment, and they haven’t responded.
Clearly, this is not OK. If Ticketmaster can set up tech systems to sell huge quantities of tickets and take large amounts of money in a very short space of time, they should also be able to set up a quick and easy process to return that money. Surely, after the past two years of postponements and cancellations, that’s something that should have been sorted.
We’re now approaching a full month. That is some bullshit.
I want to know how many millions Ticketmaster took from fans. I want to know how much interest that money is accruing every day it sits in a bank account. And I want to know what Ticketmaster is going to do with it. I doubt very much that any of it’s going to charity.
At the very least, I want to know why there’s such a stupid long delay – tell fans what’s happening, pick up the phone when media calls. Silence? That just sucks. No wonder there’s a massive backlash. No wonder ticket holders are losing trust.
“Answer your messages regarding Foo Fighters,” one recently wrote under a post promoting a Shrek stage show. “[I] see you have plenty of time to do social media posts.”
In response, Ticketmaster says: To fans who were expecting refunds between April 4-9, please continue to bear with us. We have investigated the issue and found that funds due to be processed during this period were held by our payment provider. We have been working hard to administrate an unprecedented amount of refunds, and have stressed the urgency of these funds reaching you urgently to our payment provider. They have confirmed today that they are processing the refunds again, and this may take up to 2-3 days. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your ongoing patience. If funds do not reach your account within the next 2-3 days, please contact us here.