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Thousands await refunds for cancelled shows and events

Ticket reimbursements usually take up to a week, but due to mass cancellations delays have stretched up to two months.

Sanni esiintyy lavalla, näyttää kieltään.
Finnish singer Sanni performs on stage (file photo). Image: Tomi Jokela / All Over Press

Many people in Finland who bought tickets to events or concerts that were cancelled due to the coronavirus epidemic have been informed to wait for refunds by ticket sales firms Tiketti and Lippu.

Coronavirus-related restriction caused most scheduled spring and summer events to be cancelled. Thousands of people had purchased tickets to concerts and festivals before the viral outbreak wreaked havoc with their plans, and many have still not been reimbursed.

Tiketti and Lippu, two of the country's major ticket sellers, said the delays were due to the large number of cancelled events and volume of tickets sold. Additionally, the ticket firms themselves said they were hurt financially by the situation.

Lippu's owner, Ari Palhamo, said that cancelled events had affected around 100,000 thousand ticket orders, and that around 10,000 of those orders have still not been processed.

As tickets are generally bought in groups, each order can involve several tickets.

Meanwhile, Tiketti has refunded most of around 40,000 orders, which managing director Mirva Merimaa said amounted to about 100,000 tickets, adding that about a dozen orders were awaiting to be processed.

Some of the refund delays were due to customers providing the wrong bank accounts, she noted.

1,000 events cancelled or postponed

The ticketing firms faced a large workload in early spring as upcoming events began to be postponed or cancelled due to government restrictions implemented to fight the epidemic. By summer, the number of cancellations and postponements had reached 1,000.

Both Palhamo and Merimaa said that the biggest rush was at the end of March and beginning of April, a time when the firms' refund schedules became severely delayed.

Under normal circumstances, refunds from Tiketti take about five working days and around seven days for Lippu, but currently ticket reimbursements can take as long as 60 days, according to the companies' heads.

"There's never before been a situation where nearly 100,000 orders have been cancelled," Palhamo said.

During a normal year only about one percent of events are ever cancelled, according to Merimaa.

As as second wave of the virus looms, future cancellations are likely in store.

Crisis major blow to business

The ticket firm bosses said that the coronavirus crisis hit the companies very hard, with Tiketti seeing a 91 percent drop in sales and Lippu a 90 percent decline.

The situation has led to employee negotiations but neither company has yet to lay off staff, however, workloads are being carried out by less personnel than usual.

Merimaa and Palhamo said the reimbursements were valued in the millions of euros, but neither would reveal a more precise sum.

As future events are cancelled or postponed, both companies continue to deal with paying back customers, and the companies' chiefs both said they hoped that customers would understand the difficulty of the situation.

Merimaa said that paying back each ticket order is a manual process carried out by staff and that they cannot be all reimbursed at the same time.

Palhamo said that those holding tickets to cancelled events can trust that they will get their money back, but it may just take a bit longer than usual.

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