On the day Lana Del Rey tickets went on sale in October, Scott Rohr of Independence bought two floor tickets online, spending $295, for the Jan. 9 concert.
On the evening of Jan. 8, Del Rey tweeted: “Kansas City, Missouri, I’m so sorry to have to cancel the show tomorrow but I’ve come down with the flu so I’ll be resuming the tour in Chicago. We will try and find a makeup date and refunds are available at point of purchase.”
But when Rohr got back online to get his refund, the process proved frustrating.
“I couldn’t find the process available,” he said.
When a concert is postponed, fans who want a refund are supposed to be able to get their money back within 48 hours of the postponement. But that isn’t always the case.
The process of getting refunds is not always explained explicitly by the ticket vendor. And if you purchased through a ticket broker, you likely won't get a refund for postponed shows.
Take the Del Rey concert. On Jan. 9, AXS, the ticketing agent for the Sprint Center, sent out an email to ticket buyers that said, “She will reschedule the date as soon as possible” and advised ticketholders who wanted updates to visit Del Rey’s website, which offered no ticket refund or show information.
But in smaller print at the bottom of that AXS email, fans with questions were advised to email them to email@example.com or visit support.axs.com. If you go to support.axs.com and make your way to “what to do about postponed events,” you are advised to go back to that Jan. 9 email for “information about the new date,” and if you want a refund to “choose that option in the email and submit a request.”
That email offers no explicit refund option, only links to that email address and website. The word “refund” does not appear.
Nearly two months later, Del Rey has not announced a Kansas City makeup date, and some of her fans who want a refund haven’t received their money back.
“I’ve had a very difficult time locating anywhere how to proceed to get a refund,” said Lisa Davis of Kansas City, who spent nearly $200 on tickets. "It said for postponed events you must wait for an email confirming the makeup date until you can proceed with a refund through a series of actions."
Shani Tate, vice president of marketing, communications and ticket sales at the Sprint Center, said that anyone who wants a refund should declare so explicitly via an email to firstname.lastname@example.org address. Include your confirmation number and payment amount, she said.
There is a difference in procedures between a cancellation and a postponement. For shows that are canceled, ticketholders are automatically issued a refund. For postponed shows, ticketholders have to decide whether they want a refund or want to hang on to their tickets until the show is rescheduled.
If you bought tickets through a ticket broker, you most likely don’t have a refund option if a show is postponed, unless it is eventually canceled. ViaGogo, an online ticket broker, informed customers of the Del Rey postponement in an email that also informed them: “We are unable to process refunds for these tickets as the event has not been canceled.”
Other brokers and secondary sellers have similar policies. At its website, StubHub declares: "Refunds will not be issued for postponed events, unless they are ultimately canceled."
At the website for Tickets for Less, an Overland Park-based company: "In many cases, venues/teams/performers may refer to an event as 'canceled' even though there are plans to reschedule. If there is an announced plan to set a makeup date, refunds will not be available."
Del Rey’s tweet said the show was canceled, and she would try to reschedule. However, for now the show is being designated as postponed and awaiting a new date
But a makeup date seems unlikely anytime soon.
Del Rey will launch her 13-show international tour March 17 in Buenos Aires, which ends April 20 in Madrid.
It’s possible she will announce another North American tour later this year, but that doesn’t seem likely until summer at the earliest. Del Rey announced her current tour in September, four months prior to its opening date.
On March 2, via email, a spokesman for Live Nation told The Star, "We have not heard anything yet" regarding a makeup date.
Hers isn’t the only show in limbo. In June, Bob Seger announced a North American tour that included a stop at the Sprint Center on Oct. 14. Tickets went on sale June 16.
In early October, Seger announced he was postponing the rest of the tour — 18 shows, including Kansas City’s — to attend to an urgent medical issue, which turned out to be back surgery. A few weeks later, he announced that the postponed shows would be rescheduled for spring. No makeup dates have been announced.
In early January, Seger told Rolling Stone magazine: "I'm feeling better all the time. They aren't letting me lift anything over 5 pounds. I can't do anything: no piano, no guitar, no nothing. But as soon as the pain stops, I'll be playing again."
The Sprint Center’s website currently says, “Rescheduled dates will be announced when available. Tickets sold for concerts that are being rescheduled will be honored at the new dates.” Again, no mention of refunds or where to go to get one.
The Sprint Center went through a similar situation a year ago but with a good ending. In March 2017, Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey announced they had to postpone their impending 35-date All Hits Tour after Richie underwent knee surgery. Two weeks later, they announced a rescheduled tour comprising 22 of those shows, including Kansas City, which was moved from April 16 to Aug. 27. That tour proceeded successfully.
Things did not go as smoothly for Janet Jackson. Live Nation, the tour’s promoter, ran into some legal issues after a series of postponements in her Unbreakable Tour, which was announced in early 2015 and included an October 2015 show in Kansas City. In April 2016, after a series of additional postponements and reschedules, Jackson announced that the entire tour would be delayed again because she was pregnant.
About that time, Live Nation was sued by a fan who said Live Nation was holding on to ticket revenues by deeming the tour “rescheduled” and not canceled. The lawsuit was eventually settled and Ticketmaster deemed the tour canceled so all ticketholders automatically got refunds.
In May 2017, Jackson announced another tour, renamed the State of the World. It included an October 2017 stop at the Sprint Center, nearly two years after the initial Kansas City date. That entire tour went off as planned.
On Feb. 23, Rohr tried to get his $295 refunded. He sent an email to email@example.com requesting a refund for his Del Rey ticket. As of March 8, the only response he'd received, he said, was: "We received your request email. We'll get back to you soon."
Brett Mosiman, who runs Pipeline Productions, a music and entertainment prompter in Lawrence, said fans have another option: "Keep in mind, all these sales are generally online transactions — via a credit-card purchase using a credit-card processor. … So customers can circumvent the venue/promoter/ticketing company and go straight to their credit card provider and get a full refund if a show did not happen when promised at (time of) purchase."