Tickets and events
If you can, it is always best to buy a ticket from the event’s official seller or from the venue. You should check the terms and conditions to see what happens if something goes wrong, for example if the tickets do not arrive on time or the event is cancelled.
Be very careful buying tickets other than from the official seller. If you can, you should pay for tickets online with a credit or debit card. You should be careful if the seller asks you to pay for the ticket by bank transfer as this could be a scam.
COVID-19 and events
Under the current public health measures for COVID-19, the Irish government has banned large gatherings to fight the spread of coronavirus. As a result, large-scale public events will not be able to go ahead for the foreseeable future. You may have bought tickets for upcoming events that have now been postponed or cancelled. This document explains your rights if an event, concert or match is postponed or cancelled.
Your ticket rights
When you buy any product or service, you should be given certain information to help you make an informed decision before you buy. This also applies when you buy tickets to an event.
The information you should get is:
- The name and address of the seller
- The total price, including any booking fees, credit card fees, delivery costs, taxes or any other charges
- The arrangements for delivery of the tickets
- If the right to cancel exists and the conditions and procedures for cancelling
- The complaints handling procedure if things go wrong
When you buy a ticket online, you should receive confirmation of your purchase in durable format such as letter or email. You can also expect to get what you paid for, for example the seat should be in the location advertised and your view should not be obstructed (unless this was clearly marked on the ticket). Find out more about your rights as a consumer in Ireland.
If you want to cancel
When you buy online, you have a general right to cancel without having to give a reason under the Consumer Rights Directive 2011/83/EU (CRD)(pdf). However, this right to withdraw (known as the 14-day cooling off period) does not apply to certain leisure activities that take place on a specific date or period of performance. This includes ticket sales for concerts and sporting events.
You are not entitled to a refund if you change your mind about going to the event or you can no longer go. Your right to cancel depends on the trader’s cancellation policy. You will have to check the terms and conditions of the contract and follow the cancellation procedure (if there is one).
There may be restrictions on whether you are allowed to resell the ticket to someone else. The ticket may be subject to conditions that it cannot be transferred to someone else and can only be used by the person whose name is on it. Some official ticket sellers have fan-to-fan exchange systems or partnership with other online ticket marketplaces. You should check the ticket seller’s website for the terms and conditions of resale.
If the event is cancelled
When you buy a ticket, you and the seller are entering into a contract. The terms and conditions should include information about refunds if the event is cancelled or there is a significant change (for example, a change of date or venue).
This means that if an event is cancelled, it is up the seller to resolve the issue. This may be by rescheduling the event, or if that is not possible or is not suitable for you, by giving you a refund.
Protection for travel and accommodation bookings
If the cancelled event is abroad, you are usually not covered for any travel or accommodation costs, unless they were part of a package that included the ticket. Refunds for flights and accommodation costs are not the responsibility of the event promoter or ticket seller. Your rights to a refund will depend on terms and conditions for each individual booking and if cancellation is allowed. If the terms of the contract do not allow cancellation, you may be able to claim through your travel insurance (if you have a policy in place).
However, if you booked a package holiday that includes a concert ticket and another travel service such as flight or hotel or both, then you have stronger protections. Find more about package holidays.
Ticket reselling and touting
Ticket touting is the practice of reselling tickets through unauthorised channels, typically for more than face value (that is the price of the ticket that was charged by the official seller). It is not illegal in Ireland to resell tickets, even at significantly higher price than face value. The Government has published draft legislation on ticket touting under the Sale of Tickets (Sporting and Cultural Events) Bill 2017 (pdf).
When tickets for an event are in high demand it can be tempting to buy from unauthorised sources. These tickets may be available through secondary ticketing websites or from a private individual (either face-to-face or through an online auction website).
It is important to remember that when you buy tickets through unauthorised sources you may have fewer legal rights if things go wrong.
When you buy from unauthorised sources, you should be aware that:
- Irish and EU consumer law generally applies to contracts between a trader and a consumer and does not cover consumer-to-consumer deals
- There may be admission restrictions – some venues may only allow admission to the person whose name is on the ticket (the original buyer’s name)
- If the event is cancelled or postponed, you could have problems getting your money back as any refund would be made back onto the original buyer’s card
- If you receive the wrong, fake, or duplicated tickets, it could be hard to trace the seller and get what you ordered
- There could be a delay in receiving the tickets, or you could be told that they are no longer available
It is important to do your research and pay securely to avoid being caught by a ticketing scam. You should only use websites that allow secure payment facilities such as debit card, credit card or PayPal. Never send money directly through bank or wire transfer. Find out more about scams.
If things go wrong
If you have a problem with a ticket that you bought from an authorised seller, you should first contact the trader, to give them the chance to put things right.
If you cannot resolve the issue, you can contact the following for further consumer advice:
- Disputes with traders based in Ireland: Contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)
- Disputes with traders based in other EU countries: Contact the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Ireland
Find out more about consumer protection organisations.
Alternatively, you can consider taking a claim against the trader using the small claims procedure.
Find out more about how to make a complaint.