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Shanghai court orders partial refunds for 'pillar tickets' at concert

By Xu Zhesheng | | Updated: 2024-06-24 21:43
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A Shanghai court has ruled in favor of concertgoers who sued the organizer for obstructed views during a concert by Malaysian singer Fish Leong last year. The Shanghai MoreFun culture and entertainment company was ordered to issue partial refunds to nine attendees who purchased "pillar tickets" that significantly blocked their view of the stage.

The plaintiffs, who bought tickets through a third-party platform in April 2023, claimed they were unaware of the obstructed views until arriving at the venue on May 20 and 21. Following unsuccessful mediation attempts, they sued MoreFun, arguing that the lack of disclosure constituted consumer fraud. They demanded a full refund and punitive damages.

MoreFun countered that the support columns were temporary additions they were unaware of during ticket sales. Additionally, they argued that their promotional materials did not guarantee unobstructed views. They also contested the refund request, stating the attendees remained throughout the concert.

The Minhang District People's Court sided with the concertgoers on the issue of disclosure. While the court acknowledged MoreFun's lack of knowledge about the temporary columns, it ruled that failing to inform customers about the obstructed views or offering alternative solutions constituted a defective fulfillment of contract.

The court mandated partial refunds ranging from 420 to 910 yuan ($58 to $125), representing 60-70 percent of the original ticket prices. This case highlights a growing trend of "pillar tickets" causing frustration among concertgoers in China's booming post-pandemic live entertainment scene.

In April, a similar incident occurred at a Phoenix Legend concert in Changzhou. A concertgoer who purchased two tickets for 480 yuan faced a near-complete view obstruction by a pillar and was initially denied a refund by the ticketing platform Damai. Public backlash ultimately prompted Damai to issue refunds on April 24.

The Jiangsu Consumer Council weighed in on the issue in May, emphasizing that "obstructed view" tickets fall short of consumer expectations. The council views such practices as unfair trade, where consumers pay for services lacking in promised quality.

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