Ticket Holders Sue South by Southwest Festival for Refunds

April 27, 2020
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AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) -  A class action lawsuit has been filed against the South By Southwest (SXSW) festival over their ticket policy that is not allowing refunds following the cancellation of this year’s event.

City of Austin officials along with Travis County leaders announced in early March that the festival would be canceled for 2020 due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of issuing cash refunds to ticket holders after the event was canceled, SXSW officials told people they had the option of deferring registration for the next three years (2021 through 2023), according to KXAN TV in Austin

Plaintiffs formed into a class action lawsuit arguing that the festival’s refund policy is “unlawful, unconscionable and unenforceable.”

“[The plaintiffs] on behalf of themselves and all other persons who purchased wristbands, tickets, passes and badges to the 2020 South by Southwest festival, bring this action for breach of contract and unjust enrichment in order to recover (money) paid for a festival that never occurred,” the lawsuit says.

In a statement, SXSW LLC said it does not have the financial resources to issue refunds.

Due to the unique nature of SXSW’s business, where we are reliant on one annual event, we incurred extensive amounts of non-recoupable costs well in advance of March,” the company said. “SXSW, like many small businesses across the country, is in a dire financial situation requiring that we rely on our contracts (agreed to by would-be attendees at the time of purchase), which have a clearly stated no refunds policy. Though we wish we were able to do more, we are doing our best to reconcile the situation and offered a deferral package option.

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