Ticketing Company Eventopia have been named as the party liable to ticket holders for all refunds following the cancellation of Soundwave festival last week, NSW Fair Trading has told Music Feeds.
Speaking to Music Feeds today, a NSW Fair Trading spokesperson confirmed that under the Australian Consumer Law, Eventopia, as a supplier, have an obligation to provide refunds, even if they can’t recoup advanced ticket proceeds given to Maddah.
“Suppliers have an obligation to provide refunds to consumers when there is a failure to supply,” said the spokesperson, urging that “affected consumers should contact their financial institution to discuss a chargeback,” if they bought tickets with a credit card and refunds are not forthcoming.
NSW Fair Trading have also issued a statement this morning, advising ticket holders to contact credit card providers about a possible chargeback. Failing that, the department urge ticketholders to lodge a formal complaint, here.
This news come as Eventopia have recently claimed that the festival and promoter AJ Maddah are “directly liable to ticket purchasers for issuing customer refunds,” and claims by the company’s General Manager that the now defunct festival‘s promoter is in possession of the money owed to fans.
Maddah contests that the ticketing company were well aware that he was using those advanced funds to pay non-refundable deposits to bands, so that the festival could go ahead. Eventopia deny this claim, but considering that AJ’s financial troubles were publicly known, it’s hard to believe the company weren’t aware of where the money was being used.
As some continue to criticise AJ Maddah for going ahead with the festival under such circumstances, that decision was likely not even under his control. As Soundwave at the time was under external administration, that call would have been made by Deloitte administrators Neil Robert Cussen and David Ian Mansfield.
Having been enlisted by creditors to assess the viability of proceeding with the festival, the administrators decided to go ahead with the 2016 event in the hopes of creditors using the proceeds to recoup some of the money owed by Maddah.
At this point, Maddah had no access to funds himself, all his bank accounts and companies being under the control of third party accountants and administrators.
Maddah himself says that the ticketing company were well aware of the risk of getting involved with the festival. Maddah apparently even brought up the prospect of a cancellation, claiming he was told Eventopia had insurance with a US based company to cover refunds should they need to.
This all comes as a huge blow to Eventopia, as this is the third cancelled festival in four months they have had to refund tickets for, with Soulfest and New Zealand’s Echo Fest both also recently being cancelled. A bad situation for any ticketing company, one can imagine how much harder or more expensive it would be now for the company to find cancellation insurance.
More to come.
UPDATE: Music Feeds has been contacted by Eventopia who deny having obtained insurance from a US based company, calling AJ Maddah claims “factually baseless”.