BBB: What to Do if an Event is Canceled by a Pandemic

Milwaukee, Wis. – Officials are announcing restrictions on mass public gatherings to limit the spread of the coronavirus. While the numbers of how many people may gather at one time vary from state to state, it is causing the immediate cancellation or delay of concerts, major sporting events, theater productions, marathons, fairs, and festivals. This may leave many people who purchased tickets or made reservations well in advanced feeling a little dismayed and wondering what they should do next.

BBB recommends the following tips if this should happen to you:

  • Review the cancellation policy. Visit the venue’s website or contact the business. Given the uncertainty of this situation, each vendor or host is more than likely have their own policy in handling refunds, exchanges or may offer a rescheduling option.
  • Check your credit card company. If you are denied a refund from the vendor and purchased tickets or made a reservation using a credit card, contact the credit card company to dispute the charges.
  • Check with the distributor of the tickets. For tickets or reservations that are purchased online, many refunds, according to the venue’s policy, will be automatically processed to the same card that was used for purchase. Check with the distributor to learn more.
  • Stay home if you are sick. If you become ill or are not comfortable attending an event that is not canceled, stay home. Contact the box office and explain the situation.
  • Review any ticket insurance purchased. If you purchased ticket insurance, review the fine print to see what is and isn’t covered. Understand that the policy may not cover things such as a pandemic and it may be outlined within the policy. The same advice would apply for travel insurance.
  • Contact the vendor. Items such as airline tickets should be dealt with the vendor where you purchased the original ticket from. For example, if the ticket was purchased through Expedia, review and follow the cancellation policy on the website.
  • Have patience. As this pandemic unfolds, it is difficult to tell how long it will continue and what the impact is going to be on everyone from event planners to vendors to businesses and for consumers. If it is difficult to get through to customer service, understand there are probably other people in your same situation.

For an online version click here

See BBB’s Tips for Buying TIckets.

For more information, please visit For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.  ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2018, people turned to BBB more than 173 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Wisconsin which was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.