A land-mark legal case awards 50% refund to patron dissatisfied with below par Chuck Berry gig.

In a ground breaking legal world-first, Finland’s Consumer Dispute Board has found in favour of a complainant who demanded a refund after a performance by Chuck Berry in Helsinki failed to meet his expectations. Although this landmark case pertains to a Rock concert, the ruling has wide-reaching implications for arts consumers across the world, and may open performing arts companies up to previously unprecedented claims for refunds based on customer satisfaction.

According to Finnish broadcaster YLE, 50% of the ticket value was awarded to a complaining audience member who attended the Berry concert held at the Finlandia Hall on October 23, 2013. This is the first time such a decision has been made based on customer dissatisfaction with the caliber of a performance.

Berry was fatigued and showing flu symptoms and on several occasions apologised to the audience for his condition on stage during the performance.

Australian promoters have varying refund policies encouraged under the guidelines of the Live Performance Australia Ticketing Code of Practice. This states, “the option to provide a refund lies at the discretion of the LPA Member. In the interests of maintaining good faith with the Consumer, refunds are sometimes provided when there is no strict legal requirement to do so,” although obligatory refunds only apply to performances that are, “cancelled; re-scheduled (and you cannot or do not wish to attend the re-scheduled event); or significantly re-located.” There is currently no stipulations for refunding performances where the performer fails to meet the standard expected by the audience.

Contribute to Limelight and support independent arts journalism.