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Boardmasters cancelled: will you get your money back?

Written by: Emma Lunn and Joanna Faith
Thousands of music fans have been left fuming after Boardmasters festival in Cornwall was dramatically cancelled at the last minute due to severe weather warnings.

While some 50,000 revellers will be disappointed to miss out on seeing their favourite bands, they could also be left hundreds of pounds out of pocket with many having already paid for travel and accommodation as well as tickets, which ranged in price from £69 for a standard day ticket to £370 for a VIP package.

Boardmasters has said it will release refund advice “as soon as possible”. According to Citizens Advice, if you bought your ticket from an official seller you should get a refund if the organiser cancels, moves or reschedules the event. You may only be refunded the face value of the ticket, not booking or card fees.

But you’re unlikely to get a refund if you bought your ticket from a reselling (or secondary ticketing) website, a private seller or a fan-to-fan website.

UPDATE: Boardmasters has confirmed that anyone who purchased tickets via the Boardmasters website and official ticket sellers will receive a refund in full for the face value of their ticket. More information regarding how to claim your refund will be released as soon as possible via Boardmasters social media channels

Hotel and train refunds

Whether you will get refunds on travel and accommodation depends on booking terms and conditions – and whether or not you have travel insurance.

Music fans heading to Boardmasters could buy tickets for specific days, multi-day tickets without camping, or tickets which included camping.

Those not camping, and not local to Newquay, are likely to have booked and paid for accommodation nearby.

Unfortunately, hotels are not under any obligation to refund your money if you decide not to check-in. Whether you’ll get a refund will depend on the individual policy of the accommodation and the terms and conditions of your booking.

Some bookings might offer free cancellation up until a certain date but cheaper bookings tend to be non-refundable.

As you can still use any accommodation booked, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get your money back using section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act (for credit cards – see below) or chargeback (for debit cards).

If you have travel insurance it’s worth checking to see if it could refund you some, or all, of the money you’ve paid for accommodation. However, there is likely to be an excess to pay – this will depend on your policy.

It’s a similar story if you’ve paid for flights, train or coach tickets to Cornwall. If you decide not to travel, whether the fare will be refunded will generally depend on the ticket’s terms and conditions.

However, train company Great Western Railway (GWR) has said it will refund Advance fares, which are normally non-refundable, alongside other refundable tickets. GWR also said that people with return tickets from Newquay booked up until Monday can use the return portion of their ticket from today.

National Express has said it will offer customers travelling to Newquay a full refund, minus a £5 cancellation fee.

Music fans travelling with other train companies, coach companies or airlines will need to check with the company as to whether tickets can be refunded or travel plans changed. Those who cannot get their money back should contact their travel insurance provider for advice.

Aashna Shroff, personal finance expert at, said: “If you’re already down in Cornwall, you’re unlikely to get any money back for travel and accommodation costs, unless both were part of a package deal.

“However, if you have annual travel insurance cover, it’s worth checking the policy. A number of travel insurance policies offer cover for UK breaks.

“As the festival has been cancelled at short notice for reasons out of your control, in this case due to bad weather, you might have a case to make a claim for any costs incurred.

“If you haven’t travelled down to Cornwall yet, again it’s worth checking your travel insurance and calling your credit card company, to find out if you are eligible for a refund.”

Use credit cards for big purchases

The dramatic last-minute cancellation of Boardmasters acts as a good reminder to use your credit card when making big purchases.

When you use a credit card you get added protection under a law called Section 75. This means your credit card provider is equally responsible if something goes wrong with the purchase as the retailer or trader  – as long as it cost between £100 and £30,000.

That means if a product is damaged or doesn’t turn up at all – for example, you order a new sofa, but the store then goes bust – you’ll get your money back.

Consumer group Which? notes that you don’t have to have paid the full amount on credit card to get Section 75 protection. The credit card company is still liable even if you made part of the payment on your credit card.

So, if you paid a £60 deposit for your new sofa using your credit card and the balance of £600 by cheque, you’d be covered for the whole £660 if the store went out of business and you didn’t get your sofa.

One circumstance Section 75 may not apply in is if you made your purchase through a third party for example, you bought concert tickets through a ticket agency, or you used PayPal, because the credit card company doesn’t have a direct relationship with the supplier, so it isn’t equally liable.

Sally Jaques, money expert at GoCompare added: “It’s also worth remembering that Section 75 only applies to single items. For example, if you bought four £40 concert tickets for each family member individually, you wouldn’t be covered as the tickets each count as single transaction of less than £100.

“However, if you bought a family ticket for £160, then you would be protected as it’s a single transaction over the minimum amount.”


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