Alban Arena show postponement upsets ticket holders

Peter Pan at The Alban Arena, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, Great Britain 11th December 2020 Prod

Peter Pan at The Alban Arena. Photograph by Elliott Franks - Credit: Elliott Franks

Disgruntled punters unhappy with the postponement of a Christmas play have been reassured that the show will go on later this year.

A socially-distant production of Peter Pan was put on at the Alban Arena to offer families some festive fun amid the gloom of the pandemic.

Presented by OVO and directed by the Maltings Theatre’s artistic director Adam Nichols, the musical version of J.M. Barrie’s classic tale was scheduled to play at the Arena until last Sunday.

But coronavirus restrictions resulted in producers postponing all remaining performances when St Albans moved into Tier 4.

The remaining shows are set to be rescheduled for sometime later this year when restrictions allow, but some customers have complained about the decision on social media.

Tasha Bell told the Herts Ad: "There are several very disgruntled customers who have been refused refunds by OVO because they were advised when they bought tickets that there were no refunds available and that by ticking a box they agreed to this, yet OVO did not even offer a refund as one of the options available which may not be legal in the first place.

"Many people are very disgruntled and upset because OVO refuses to either refund them or to offer them a suitable date for rescheduling or suitable seats that match their original booking requirements."

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Jackie Clode-Dickens said: "We were given no option to not accept their booking conditions if we wanted to purchase and despite government guidelines seeming to say we are entitled to a refund regardless of their individual company policy, they are refusing to give me a refund.

"They have automatically rescheduled my ticket for a time and date that is entirely unsuitable as I have a young child and other than that, I have been offered a credit note that I really don't want to take as I cannot guarantee I'll ever use. I have never booked with this company before, so it's not like I know eventually there will be a show that I will want to book for at a later date, and to be honest, after they way they have behaved, I doubt I would ever want to purchase from them again!

"I do appreciate how much the arts are struggling right now, I myself work in the hospitality industry and have lost my own job. But I feel it's really underhand to force people to accept such restrictive booking policies and then refuse to refund them when the alternative offer is completely unsuitable."

Artistic director Adam Nichols said: "OVO is operating a fair and transparent refund, exchange and credit policy for Peter Pan, in line with the relevant consumer legislation. 

"The potential risk of lockdown related restrictions was obviously known to all from the point when tickets went on sale for Peter Pan in October 2020, and we considered it important that, before booking tickets, customers clearly understood the implications if those restrictions came to pass, as unfortunately they did."

He said customers had to accept that they would receive an exchange or credit note in the event that performances were postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic, and would have been unable to complete their booking otherwise.

"We have rearranged the performances so that purchasers can see Peter Pan if they still want to, and for those who do not we are offering a credit note against future productions. Furthermore, our ticket agent offers a refund protection policy which many of our customers have taken out. These customers will be refunded in full if they do not wish to attend one of the rearranged performances or take a credit note.

"It is clear from correspondence with our customers that the overwhelming majority of them booked for the show on that understanding that refunds would not be available in the event of a Covid-19 postponement or cancellation. Only a very small number of customers have indicated that they did not understand the policy and had expected to receive a refund in the current circumstances."

He added: "We are hugely grateful for the amazing ongoing support we’ve received from our loyal audiences since we were forced to postpone the remaining performances of Peter Pan before Christmas. We are looking forward to bringing the show back as soon as possible, and continuing to provide entertainment, enjoyment and escapism to the people of St Albans in 2021."