Cancellation of popular concert event in Alberta leads to call for refunds

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WATCH: The cancellation of the Big Valley Jamboree has some Alberta ticket holders demanding a refund. Tomasia DaSilva explains why they may not get one. – Jun 24, 2021

The cancellation of Big Valley Jamboree (BVJ) 2021 has some ticket holders frustrated and demanding their money back.

Calgarian Allan Hein bought his tickets back in February of this year. He then bought some tickets for a friend.

“I paid a total of $812,” he said.

Hein is a huge country music fan and said he’s been going to these types of concerts, on-and-off, for the past 30 years in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Allan Hein at Country Thunder in Calgary. Ctsy: Allan Hein

He added he was very disappointed when he found out the event was being cancelled for a second year in a row, but said that disappointment turned to anger when he tried to get his money back.

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“I was promised in the beginning that I would receive my money back if anything went wrong,” Hein said. “I’ve logged over 40 calls to them and they’re not answering.”

Read more: Alberta’s Big Valley Jamboree cancelled due to uncertainty caused by COVID-19 pandemic

On the BVJ website and Facebook page, organizers blamed this year’s cancellation on the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, BVJ told fans “the uncertainty for large-scale, festival-size gatherings, effective COVID-19 protocols which would ensure fan safety, and ongoing border and travel restrictions are just a few major challenges for the type of event which typically take well over a year of planning.

“All tickets will be automatically honoured for 2022,” BVJ said. “Hold on to your tickets and Big Valley Jamboree will keep you updated.”

Gerry Krochak, the director of corporate and media relations for Country Thunder Music Festivals, told Global News in an email that “2020 and 2021 have presented a number of postponements and rescheduling challenges in Canada, for which refund periods were offered. The refund periods included BVJ in Camrose, and Country Thunder in Calgary.

“Many fans opted to hold onto their ticket and camping options, all of which will be honoured for our 2022 festival season.”

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But Hein, and many others on BVJ’s Facebook page, said they were never notified about any refund period or offered any refund.

Hein also said holding on to his tickets for another year does not work for him, due to his health and his job.

“I didn’t cancel,” he added. “I know there is a no-cancellation clause in there, but that is if the person buying the tickets cancels, they lose their money or they can sell their ticket. I’m not prepared to do that.”

Read more: COVID-19 cancels 2020 Polar Express run in Alberta; ticket holders demand refunds

Global News also reached out to Service Alberta, which pointed us to a tip sheet for consumers.

The government agency, which handles consumer protection issues, recommended people familiarize themselves with the terms and conditions of any ticket sale.

It also suggested consumers seek refunds from event organizers or their credit card company, and added people can file a complaint — which may be investigated.

Hein has since received a partial refund from his credit card company. However, he said he’s been warned he could be charged again if BVJ challenges his complaint.

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His advice to anyone purchasing a ticket to any kind of event: “Know what you’re getting yourself into before you start shelling out a lot of cash. Know that you’re going to have some kind of guarantee that you’re going to receive your money back, or at least (be) given an option.”

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