September 28, 2017
The season for pop-up events is rapidly approaching, prompting consumer affairs agencies around the country to remind event organisers and consumers to be aware of their rights and responsibilities under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
“With the beautiful weather here in New South Wales over Spring and Summer, pop-up events are very popular,” explained Acting NSW Fair Trading Commissioner, Andrew Gavrielatos.
“These events are often held outdoors and occasionally make the news for not coming off as planned, sometimes due to poor planning or unforeseen circumstances.”
“Event organisers must be aware of their responsibilities when planning these events and consumers should be aware that they have rights when things goes wrong.”
If an event does not deliver what is advertised, consumers are covered by the ACL and are entitled to an appropriate redress.
NSW Fair Trading recommends that organisers and ticketing agents for pop-up events ensure they adequately plan their event so that it meets consumer expectations and, if not, they can promptly offer consumers an appropriate remedy, such as a full or partial refund.
Pop-up events are often complex to organise because all aspects of the event have to be brought onto the site, which can represent significant risks to the event organiser due to weather or unexpectedly large turnouts.
As these events have become more popular over the past few years, consumers have complained of long queues inside the event, poor quality or non-existent food, unsafe conditions, promised merchandise that did not arrive and last-minute event cancellations.
Organisers and ticketing agents can be reluctant to provide consumers with the refunds they are entitled to, with some illegally stating there are ‘no refunds’ or have refused to refund the entire cost of the ticket, including booking fees.
The ACL allows for financial penalties of up to $1.1m per breach for corporations and $220,000 for individuals making false representations about consumer rights.