EDM fans are rallying together to take on Florida’s annual EDM music festival Ultra after organizers updated its refund policy amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Ultra is among the country’s hundreds of large-scale events cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. It was one of the first festivals to be called-off in early March, and while ticketholders received a lengthy statement from the festival regarding the cancellation of this year’s festival, refunds were never mentioned.
Instead, ticketholders have 30 days to decide whether or not they would like their tickets to be honored at the 2021 or 2022 edition of the festival. Additionally, ticketholders will receive a special “benefits” package that includes an exclusive DJ set ahead of the gates opening, one free ticket to any non-Miami Ultra worldwide or Resistance events in 2021 or 2022, a discount code for official merchandise, and other incentives. The festival also plans to hold a virtual edition of the 2020 event.
The festival’s terms and conditions noted that the “organizer may, in its sole and absolute discretion elect to either, (a) issue Purchaser a full or partial refund, (b) postpone the Event for a future date and/or (c) offer Purchaser a comparable ‘make good.'”
Fans are not happy with Ultra’s decision; ticketholders on the music festival’s subreddit, r/UMF, have begun to talk about where to go from here. In the subreddit, festivalgoers are discussing class-action lawsuits, the legalities of bank chargebacks, and the specifics of regional consumer protection law. One user even started a Google Form for people interested in pursuing class-action.
One U.K. ticketholder, who identified himself as Craig, toldThe Daily Beast that he had planned to attend Ultra for his first trip to the U.S. in 16 years, and when the festival was cancelled, he sought legal assistance. However, his attorney told him not to pursue a legal route in the U.K., and instead, he attempted an initial chargeback. Ultra challenged it and following several unanswered emails from Ultra, Craig decided to accept the “Benefits.”
“It’s an upsell opportunity, that’s all,” Craig told TDB. “Nothing about it in any way helps the average person who’s probably struggling to pay rent right now, let along thinking about a fucking music festival in a year’s time. My job is, obviously, immensely difficult at the moment. I’m a frontline worker, and having my $1,000 odd back is the difference between maybe keeping my home for another month whilst my partner, who’s been furloughed as part of our government’s social isolation rules, waits to go back to work.”
While Ultra did not respond to a comment from TDB, their Terms and Conditions show that they are not required to refund ticketholders if the event is postponed. On the other hand, if the event is cancelled, they may issue a partial refund, postpone the event, or offer a “make good” at their discretion, however, under no circumstances can buyers make a chargeback.