Ticket refunds: pressure on venues

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Regent Theatre in Dunedin. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Show promoters caught up in the collapse of a ticketing company say venues such as Dunedin’s Regent Theatre need to do more to make sure customers do not lose money from such situations.

Sierra Investments producer Ben McDonald had to cancel a Friends musical parody show and postpone a Ten Tenors performance in Dunedin amid fallout from Covid-19 and the troubles of Dunedin firm Ticket Rocket, which has also traded as TicketDirect.

Money from ticketing sales was required to be held in trust, but that has so far been of no help to customers seeking refunds.

They are lining up among other creditors to request money from BDO, the receiver of Matt Davey’s ticketing group.

Mr McDonald objected to what he described as the Regent failing to take responsibility.

"Holding the ticket money in trust is listed as one of their responsibilities."

Regent Theatre general manager Sarah Anderson said the theatre did not hold any customer funds from ticket sales.

"The funds do not get paid over to the Regent Theatre - Ticket Rocket was required to hold them on trust. We are continuing to take action on this issue."

The Regent had contacted BDO and police.

Showcase Entertainment Group promoter Layton Lillas went ahead with his Cat in the Hat show in Dunedin.

Ticket Rocket owed him $25,000, he said.

His company had lodged a claim with the Disputes Tribunal and was now working with the receiver.

Mr Lillas pointed out that when venues such as the Regent had exclusive ticketing deals, his firm was obliged to go along with the arrangement.

However, he expected change would result from the Ticket Rocket case.

"We need to sort this out as an industry."

Mr McDonald said the Regent was in breach of contract.

The Regent and Ticket Rocket were both required to make sure customer money was held in trust, he said.

Ms Anderson did not agree.

"We understand the frustrations this situation is causing.

"However, The Regent Theatre Trust of Otago is not in a position to be able to make payments to hirers or to pay refunds if Ticket Rocket fails to do so."

grant.miller@odt.co.nz

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