In the effort to contain and delay the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), events around the world have been cancelled and postponed. From major sporting events to music festivals and concerts, we look at your right to a refund if events are cancelled or postponed.

Postponed or Cancelled?

The Code of Practice of the Society of Ticket Agents & Retailers (STAR) requires its members to refund the ticket price for cancelled events. The refund might even happen automatically without you having to apply for it. However, you may not get back everything that you have paid. "Extra" charges such as booking fees and postage costs are not always refundable. If the seller is a member of STAR, its dispute resolution process can be used. You must, though, try and resolved the issue with the seller directly first.

Where the event is postponed, your tickets will likely remain valid for when it is re-scheduled. If you bought the tickets directly from the seller, you may also be offered a refund if you cannot make it to the re-scheduled date.

Resale Websites

The "secondary" market, such as ticket resale websites, is popular for sold out events. Unfortunately, the terms and conditions of these websites are usually more restrictive than "primary" or direct sellers.

If you have bought your tickets from a resale website, your rights will depend on that website's terms and conditions of sale. Some websites will refund you if the event is cancelled. However, not all will. To get a refund, you might have to send the tickets back to the seller. Depending on the website's model, you may have to wait until the original seller receives their refund before you get any money back.

Some resale websites don't offer a refund in the event of postponement, though your tickets will usually be valid for the rescheduled event. The website's terms and conditions should make your rights about postponements clear.

Credit and Debit Cards

If you have paid by credit card, you have a legal right to make a claim against your credit card company if the company who you bought the tickets from breaches the contract between you. This will usually include cancellation. However, the cost of the tickets must be more than £100 (and less than £30,000) and this legal right does not apply to tickets paid for by debit card.

What if I don't want to go?

Where the event is not cancelled or postponed, it is likely that the authorities have decided that it is safe for the event to take place. If you still don't wish to attend the event because of concerns regarding contracting Coronavirus - (COVID 19), it is unlikely you will receive a refund. You may be able to sell your tickets on the secondary market to recover some or all your costs. The ability to do this will depend on the terms and conditions attached to the tickets.


Many sellers offer "missed event" insurance at the point of purchase. However, some policies will exclude "epidemics" which mean that they will not pay out for Coronavirus - (COVID-19) related events. If you have taken up insurance, check the policy documents carefully and speak with your insurer. Home and travel insurance policies may also offer some cover.

What to do

Look at the seller's terms and conditions. Your entitlement to a refund may depend on whether the event is cancelled or postponed. The seller might refund you automatically. If it is not, contact the seller to request one. If the seller refuses to return your payment, you might consider claims to your insurer or card issuer.


Jamie Reekie

Senior Associate & Solicitor Advocate