Ticket Rocket blasted over refund speed, communication

Warbirds Over Wanaka. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Warbirds Over Wanaka. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Consumer NZ is urging disgruntled ticket holders to seek help from their bank over delays in refunds from Dunedin company Ticket Rocket.

In March, the company announced it would take up to 60 days to refund people who had bought tickets through it after the Government banned large events as part of its Covid-19 lockdown.

The Otago Daily Times has been contacted by many ticket buyers yet to hear from Ticket Rocket but awaiting refunds for events including Warbirds Over Wanaka, the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival, netball matches at the Edgar Centre and Regent Theatre shows.

It was unclear how many Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show ticket-holders had not received a refund.

Airshow general manager Ed Taylor said he understood "most airshow ticket-holders have received their refunds".

He declined to say how many had not.

Dunedin’s Regent Theatre appears to have dumped Ticket Rocket as a ticket service provider.

Changes to its ticket-buying process show redirection to a different website, PatronBase.

Regent Theatre general manager Sarah Anderson declined to comment yesterday, saying she was unwilling to say anything until she had "checked off a couple more things".

It was also reported the Hurricanes Super Rugby franchise had laid a complaint with police over concerns that Ticket Rocket broke rules under the two parties’ agreement.

NZME reported Ticket Rocket provided ticketing services for the Hurricanes, among other sport organisations, and the Wellington franchise was seeking to recover $200,000.

Ticket Rocket is run by former Dunedin businessman Matthew Davey, who also owns a stake in the Highlanders Super Rugby franchise.

Mr Davey is believed to be living in Canada.

Consumer NZ spokeswoman Jessica Wilson told RNZ ticket holders should be getting refunds.

"When an event has been cancelled because of Covid-19 you should expect to get your money back and in fact that’s what Ticket Rocket’s terms and conditions say it will do.

"Customers unfortunately are finding those refunds are not coming through."

Ms Wilson said she was aware of the complaints and believed thousands of consumers would be affected.

She said the lack of accountability from Ticket Rocket was concerning.

"The company does not seem to be willing to front on this one and explain what’s going on and lots of people, customers and venue [operators], event promoters are complaining about its lack of response to inquiries, so it [Ticket Rocket] really needs to come to the party and be up front about what’s going on."

Ms Wilson said consumers had options to get their refunds.

"If you have paid by debit or credit card contact your bank about a charge back ... if you’ve not got your money back that’d be the best thing to do."

In a statement on its website, Ticket Rocket defended its lack of speed refunding customers.

"To give some colour and context, we are currently handling several thousand manual refunds," the firm said.

"This means collating bank details from support emails, uploading them into our database and then loading those into the banking system for payment.

"On average, we can get through around five or six of these an hour — call it 10 minutes each.

"With reduced staff on reduced hours, it means we’re able to process around 40 a day.

"Add to that the emails back and forth with everyone ... and you can quickly do the math to see the size of the mountain we are climbing."

RNZ/Additional reporting Mark Price and Emma Perry



Not so much rocket as racket.

NZers are paying in many ways due to COVID 19. NZ businesses are struggling too and this company is clearly trying to weather the impact of the biggest global health crisis since 1918. Also, if ODT reporting is correct, then ticketdirect/rocket must’ve employed dozens of people over two decades. I bought lots of tickets from them before COVID and had no problems. It was cool dealing with a Dunedin company and from people I talked to it has been a big Otago Uni student employer. What’s more the company’s helped grow Otago's economic prosperity and that of its surrounding provinces by helping some pretty big events involving oysters, war planes and wild foods….long before the politicians in wellington thought ‘regional development’ was a good policy idea. I also heard this bloke was one of a number of local business people who helped the highlanders financial bailout about a decade ago – thanks to people like him we still have a Super rugby team south of the Waitaki. My heart goes out to those affected by the delays. But in the interests of good journalism, the ODT should perhaps consider the other side of this story - COVID's impact on long-standing, successful NZ businesses.

Regardless of the economic conditions, you cannot condone the use of funds held in trust to prop a business up, if that is what has occurred here.

The money was never theirs to start with, only the commission they earned on the bookings.

You do not weather the storm by using money that doesn't belong to you.



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