Vaccine rules put Disney on Ice on ice. Can I get my money back?

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By Christopher Elliott


Konrad Karpiesiuk has to cancel a Disney on Ice performance after the venue imposes a new vaccine rule. Can he get his money back?

Question

Last November, I bought tickets for a Jan. 16 Disney on Ice show as a Christmas present to my kids. On Dec. 30, Ticketmaster notified me that the entry requirement had changed. All attendees to this event had to be vaccinated. 

Since we couldn’t accommodate, we have requested a refund from Ticketmaster. I called Ticketmaster, and a representative promised a refund within 30 days. But after a month, I still didn’t have the money.

I filed a dispute with Chase, my credit card company. Chase refused the dispute without asking for more details or proof of refund promised by Ticketmaster. I sent an appeal, which included written evidence that Ticketmaster had agreed to a refund. 

I have just received a letter from Chase informing me that the dispute was closed and the charge is valid. 

Ticketmaster is not responding to calls. Chase is ignoring the evidence. I’m lost and need help to get this resolved. Please, please, please let me know what could be done to get the refund processed. 

It’s bad enough that I had six disappointed kids on Christmas, not getting the gift they all wanted. Now I’m also out of over $800 and have no way to recover the money. Can you help me get a refund? — Konrad Karpiesiuk, Wallington, N.J.

Answer

I’m sorry you couldn’t make your Disney on Ice performance. Ticketmaster should have sent you a refund within 30 days, as promised. But there might have been more going on than meets the eye.

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Refunds can sometimes take longer than 30 days. If you didn’t have the money by then, you should have asked Ticketmaster — not filed a credit card chargeback. A dispute of your credit card bill under the Fair Credit Billing Act is a last resort in resolving a consumer complaint. It also complicates any refund currently underway. Specifically, it would have stopped Ticketmaster’s refund actions.

Even so, Chase should have carefully reviewed your claim instead of giving you the cold shoulder. You had Ticketmaster’s promise in writing. (Good job, by the way.) A credit card dispute department should have taken that as a credit memo and offered a full refund. It’s unclear why Chase didn’t even ask for your paperwork the first time and then brushed aside your appeal. Your next step would have been to request a third round, which would go to the credit card network or to formal arbitration.

This is not a case about vaccinations and public events, although I’m sure some readers will want to go there. It’s about a company doing what it promised and a credit card doing what it’s required to under the law. Chase should have carefully reviewed your dispute, as the law required it to do. And Ticketmaster should have given you a prompt refund.

Refunds take time

As I read between the lines, I think there may have been some confusion between Chase and Ticketmaster. Maybe Chase turned down your request because a refund was already on the way. But your appeal may have gummed up the works. Next time a company promises you a refund, be patient. It can take more than a month to get your money. (Related: Coronavirus concerns made me cancel my tour. Where is my refund?)

And if you don’t? Try appealing to an executive instead of going straight to a dispute. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Chase executives and Ticketmaster managers on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. (Here’s our guide to contacting the CEO directly.)

My advocacy team and I contacted Ticketmaster on your behalf. It issued a full refund of $803.

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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.

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