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Ultra Music Festival under fire for not issuing refunds

Ultra Music Festival

The Ultra Music Festival is facing a class-action lawsuit from upset ticket holders after refusing to issue refunds in light of the COVID-19 cancellation

On May 26, a lawsuit was filed against Ultra Music Festival in the U.S. District Court’s Southern District of Florida by Miami resident Samuel Hernandez and Washington resident Richard Montoure. The lawsuit comes in response to the festival’s refusal to refund ticket holders despite the cancellation of the festival due to the Coronavirus outbreak. 

The Ultra Music Festival was “postponed” at the start of the pandemic, so administrators would not refund customers. This posed a problem for ticketholders, as tickets cost hundreds of dollars, VIP tickets costing $1,500 alone. 

The festival administrators sent an email to ticket holders on March 9 which allowed use of the tickets for future festivals, adding other benefits like discounts for merchandise. The email didn’t mention refunds.

According to the complaint, Hernandez paid $3,000 for six tickets to the festival and Montoure purchased two three-day passes, which cost him over $1,000. Both men received no response to their refund requests and were forced to take up the festival’s offer of a credit to attend in 2021 or 2022. 

However, a future Ultra Music Festival is not guaranteed, as Miami commissioners have not yet considered approving the return of the festival in 2021. Thus, the lawsuit insists that customers are entitled to refunds and “keeping their money is unjust and inequitable.” 

The company’s refund policy is outlined in its terms and conditions. According to the terms, if an event is cancelled by an external force—in this case, the local government—the festival can be “postponed,” and refunds are up to Ultra’s discretion. It adds that the festival can offer other “goods” to please the purchaser—in this case, discounted merchandise. 

The lawsuit asserts that these terms must be void because they make up an “unenforceable unilateral option contract.” 

“We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every part of the global economy but we do not believe that gives the Ultra Music Festival the right to shift the burden of this extraordinary crisis onto its customers, who, in some cases, paid hundreds of dollars to attend this festival and now the COVID-19 pandemic has or will preclude them from ever using any credit,”.

Joe Sauder of law firm Sauder Schelkopf

Miami commissioners were expected to discuss the Ultra Music Festival in a meeting on June 11, but Mayor Francis Suarez believes June is too soon to talk about large events like Ultra returning to Miami. 

“I doubt that in a month we’re going to be ready to have that conversation,”. 

Mayor Francis Suarez

The festival has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

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