Posted: September 9th, 2022
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Ticket Cancelation: Who’s Responsible? The Ethical Complication
The death of an artist, after tickets sold out is usually quite a sticky situation. When purchasing tickets for a concert you are not directly purchasing them through the artist but through a third-party platform. Most third-party platforms will refund tickets automatically to buyers in the occurrence that an event is canceled. This is true for Ticketmaster, and eBay. This allows the consumers to get a refund from this event, and not lose their money. If they ordered through a third-party vendor that did not have these benefits, then they are stuck reading their contract. The considerations of a contract are what each party receives, the vendor receives payment for said tickets, and the vendor distributes those payments to the customer. Once those tickets have been supplied to the customer, they have fulfilled their considerations in the contract (Pagura, I., 2017). In a contract like this the consideration is not the Michael Jackson concert, but instead the ticket of admission to the Michael Jackson concert. In this case it may be considered ethical to provide a refund to these customers based upon extenuating circumstances. But those circumstances would not hold up in the court of law, and law does not protect ethics. Ticket companies have been doing there best by providing the consumer more protections on their purpose during the contract. Now consumers can order ‘ticket protection’ that assures them a full refund in any event that stops the concert goer from attending. This is a big step in trying to have more fair ethical business practices.
There are many stakeholders in this event. The consumers are a stake holder because they have purchased tickets to this show. The promoters are a stake holder to this event because they spent money to set up the concert tour. The venue owner is a stakeholder to this event because they had to ready their venue for a concert of this magnitude. You may think because of the cancelation of shows that these stakeholders are completely out of luck this is not the case. Promoters, venues, and business professionals all have insurance for cases like this. They are aware that things happen where artist cannot perform, and they are prepared for it. Insurance will recuperate the loss wages for these stakeholders.
In this case the promoters knew that they were not just at risk of a monetarily loss. They knew that they had to handle this situation with class for their public image. They did exactly that, they tried to make refunds as readily as possible, and gave another option to ticket holders to have a ‘special-ticket’ to commemorate this occurrence. This is something that stuck on hard, because a lot of people were big Michael Jackson fans in this era. The promoters did very well at trying to make the least out of public backlash. By doing this they made an ethical business decision that benefited their fans.
Sentiment plays a huge role in this case. If the company would have publicly stated, “This is a disaster, we don’t know how we are going to handle it.” The company would have been caught with major backlash like in 2010 when the CEO of BP stated, “I’d like my life back.” When talking about the BP oil spills. This caused the company to see terrible backlash from the public. If something like this would have happened in this case, the company would have had to live up to the bad reviews immediately and act upon them. Not handling this situation properly can lead to a string of bad PR. This would cause the company to ultimately look like they do not know what they are doing (Waring, B., 2008). Therefore, it is super important that companies in a situation as nationally broadcasted as this make sure they do everything they can to satisfy the customers. Even if its not things they are obligated to do defined in their contract. In this case it may be best for the promoters of the show to work with the third-party ticket servicers that are not providing instant refunds. By doing this, and everything they can, to resolve the issue it will look great for their public relations and solve this situation without anyone feeling like they were burned.
Pagura, I. (2017). Contract law: Do you know what makes a contract? Journal of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society, 23(2), 96–97.
Waring, B. (2008). Six Ways to Manage Bad PR on the Web. PCWorld, 26(1), 50.
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