OFT seeks clarification on Bay Festival tickets

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THE Office of Fair Trading is seeking clarification from Bay Festival organisers on refunds for customers not covered by HMV.

The ticket agent started processing refunds last Wednesday and said the process was expected to be completed by September 13 ‘or as soon as possible thereafter’.

OFT chief officer Paul Gelling said: ‘It is my understanding that HMV tickets will make refunds to all those to whom they had a contractual obligation, in other words all those that booked their tickets via HMV’s website or the Isle of Man Bay Festival website.

‘I am aware that some people bought tickets via Isle of Man Bay Festival Limited’s office in Peel or from the directors themselves and in this regard I have again written to Mr [Jonathan] Irving to seek clarification of how these people will be refunded in order that we can provide further advice to these ticket holders.’

After HMV announced last week it would start processing refunds, a Bay Festival spokesman said: ‘We are happy to confirm that we have worked closely with HMV to arrive at this position.

‘The Isle of Man Bay Festival note the rather downbeat (earlier) comments by Mr Gelling from the OFT which would indicate little or no understanding of the magnitude of what is involved in organising such an event nor any appreciation of the risks in bringing something new and exciting to the Isle of Man.

‘However it has been a massive exercise to get to this position of enabling refunds which obviously took time.

‘As we said previously, the Isle of Man Bay Festival was no exception to any other festival where it all requires prepaying and all the money that was received through ticket sales was used towards that purpose.

‘As recently nationally reported a number of established festivals this year have seen a sharp fall in sales due to the downturn.’

He said: ‘Despite what Mr Gelling said, there was only one deadline that came and went, not several as intimated.

‘It is also of note that after we announced on July 29 that it would take a little longer to accommodate refunds than first envisaged we only had three people, yes three people, contact us enquiring when they could expect a refund and two of them were redirected to us from the OFT.

‘So there was “no significant concern” ever communicated to the Isle of Man Bay Festival.

‘However we believe the vast majority of people who purchased tickets did so solely to help try and establish this festival for which we are extremely grateful.’

He added: ‘We are obviously sorry that not enough people shared that vision but wish to thank every single purchaser most sincerely for their total support and apologise for the fact that we could not deliver it on this occasion.’

The Examiner then asked whether the refunds announced by HMV were being paid for by the Bay Festival organisers or by HMV itself.

In addition, we asked what was happening in terms of refunds for people who bought tickets direct from the Bay Festival or outlets other than HMV.

As the Examiner went to press we had not received a reply.

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