If you don’t feel safe going to an NFL game, can you get a refund?

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By Christopher Elliott

Lynne Larkin doesn’t feel safe going to an NFL game right now and she’s hoping for a refund of her ticket. She says the stadium changed its health protocols since her Ticketmaster purchase. So what does Ticketmaster have to say about this?

Question

I’m trying to get a refund or credit for tickets I bought for an NFL game that I had to cancel. Earlier this year, I purchased tickets to the New Orleans Saints vs. Green Bay Packers game in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Ticketmaster site said to check each venue website for what safety measures will be in place for each event. The TIAA Stadium site said pod-distanced seating, distanced parking, full masking required, and other extensive safety measures. So on that basis, I purchased my tickets. I have screenshots of the TIAA Stadium site.

Someone who works at the stadium told me on Facebook that this is incorrect. All seats are available. There’s no distancing and no masking. I don’t feel safe attending a game under those circumstances. So I decided to cancel my tickets for the NFL game and request a refund.

I asked for a refund once, but Ticketmaster didn’t respond. Please help me get my $402 back. — Lynne Larkin, Vero Beach, Fla.

Answer

I think if you don’t feel safe going to the NFL game because of the change in protocols, you should get a refund for those tickets. It’s an unusual football season in several ways. The New Orleans Saints played their home opening game in Jacksonville after being displaced by hurricane Ida. But COVID was also a factor.

The Ticketmaster site has a refund policy on its site, but it’s not entirely clear. Full refunds, it says, will be available if the NFL or the team cancels a game and it can’t be rescheduled. You can also get your money back if the game happens “under conditions that prohibit fans from attending.”

The Ticketmaster site also notes that the season will be played “with stadiums at full capacity whenever possible.”

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Yes, that’s confusing. How do you define “prohibit fans from attending”? If the stadium where the NFL game is being played, goes from full social distancing to “anything goes,” and you don’t feel safe, does that count?

The good news: Here’s the refund for your NFL game

I imagine others are in your situation — caught between their health concerns and the ambiguities of cancellation rules. There’s only one way to get the answer: You have to ask whether you can get a refund for the NFL game if you don’t feel safe. You’ll never know until you ask.

I reviewed your paper trail with Ticketmaster. It looks as if it didn’t even acknowledge your first refund request. That’s highly unusual. Typically, companies send an automated response when you file a complaint through their site. It looks like your first request didn’t go through. (Related: I hate football! How did I get the NFL Sunday Ticket?)

I recommended that you try one of the executive customer service contacts for Ticketmaster that we include in our directory. That way, you can be sure that someone received your request. I also have a helpful guide on how to get a refund from Ticketmaster.

And someone did. Ticketmaster promptly responded to you. It turns out that changing the health protocols at a stadium is grounds for a full refund. You received your money back for the tickets, minus the cost of insurance, and watched the NFL game on TV instead — where you felt quite safe.  🙂

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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