Ticketholders Seek Refunds as Coronavirus Prompts Mass Cancellations

“Alternatively, you can choose to receive a full refund for the original order amount (including service and delivery fees) to the original payment method,” the company said.

If your event is postponed, StubHub said, it will “send you an email once the details are confirmed with next steps to get you to the event.”

Music festivals that are reeling after being shut down or postponed have tended to be more resistant to immediately promising refunds.

South by Southwest, the sprawling festival of music, technology and film in Austin, Texas, was canceled by city officials last week, plunging the organization into financial hardship that required reducing staff, the group said.

In a statement issued on Thursday, South by Southwest said that it was sticking to its strict no-refund policy on its badges, which grant attendees access to the festival and can cost up to $1,725. But the organization said that it would offer a deferral of the badge until next year or the two years after that.

Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tenn., has said that ticketholders will be refunded — but only if they purchased passes from the festival’s ticketing vendor, Front Gate.

Some organizations are taking a wait-and-see approach. After Major League Baseball announced a two-week delay to the start of the 2020 season, the Yankees sent an email thanking fans and asking them to essentially sit tight.

“Given the unprecedented nature and fluidity of what is taking place, we appreciate your patience as we diligently work through the many aspects and details of this continually evolving situation,” the statement read.

Travel reservations and bookings: Expect a long wait time.

With airlines cutting trans-Atlantic flights and cruise lines canceling sailings, travel conditions and refund policies are changing daily.

On Friday, Airbnb updated its “Extenuating Circumstances” policy, which “allows guests to cancel eligible reservations without charge.” The policy applies to bookings in the United States, mainland China, South Korea and Italy.

“Most refunds arrive within 10 days, but for some payment methods and regions, it might take longer,” the company said. A representative for Airbnb said customers would see a full refund, including any service fees.

Disney, which closed every theme park worldwide until the end of March, said that people with theme park tickets meant to be used in March could use them at a later date. Universal Studios Hollywood, also closed until the end of the month, has “flexible programs for guests who have purchased tickets.”

Traveling? Or trying to bow out of an already-booked trip? Keep an eye on social media and official communications from your airline, hotel, cruise or wherever you booked to stay up-to-date with any changes to refund policies. And expect long wait times if you do need to contact a company.

Eileen McNamara Lash, of Fredonia, New York, said she spent days on the phone trying to get refunds for an upcoming trip to Mexico, a celebration for her mother’s 89th birthday.

“I just put the phone down on speaker and just let it go for a couple of hours,” she said. “At one point, it actually died on me and that’s why I had to disconnect and then start over the next night.”

Organizers beware: Refusing refunds might provoke a backlash.

When the Ultra Music Festival in Miami and South by Southwest told ticketholders that there would be no refunds for their canceled festivals, the complaints started flying.

Audience members at smaller venues had similar reactions when the no-refund decision dropped into their inboxes.

The Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami had held off on shutting its doors and canceling the closing weekend of the popular musical “Hamilton.” “Refunds are not being offered,” patrons were told, which resulted in a series of irritated comments online, some of them questioning whether the arts center was putting its bottom line over the health of audience members.

By Friday afternoon, the Miami-Dade County government had announced that the Arsht Center — and two other venues — would in fact be closing. The Arsht Center reversed its stance on refunds, saying that patrons could exchange their tickets for another show, receive a gift certificate, donate their tickets or simply get a refund.

The decision was a relief for Tracy Davis, who had two tickets to a Sunday performance — the package totaled more than $250 — but planned not to go because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We didn’t feel comfortable sitting in the theater for that number of hours on top of so many people,” Ms. Davis said.

But some ask: Do you need that refund?

Some companies and social media users have been calling on people to forgo asking for refund, with the hope of lessening the impact on small businesses, the arts and the service industry.

If an event that you’re going to is canceled, don’t ask for a refund, one person suggested on Twitter. “The places you love will need all the help they can get.”

In New York, the Metropolitan Opera, which is closed through at least the end of the month, likely faces a loss of at least $8 million in box office revenue. Peter Gelb, the company’s general manager, told The Times that he hoped people with tickets to canceled performances would donate the money to the Met instead of seeking refunds.

“We have an obligation to the world of opera, and to our public, to survive,” he said.

Michael Cooper contributed reporting.

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