SXSW is reportedly being sued for not offering refunds to its 2020 event, which was forced to cancel due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Specifically, the case against SXSW argues “breach of contract and unjust enrichment.”
Instead of offering refunds, SXSW gave ticketholders the opportunity to put the cost (and then some) of 2020 passes toward SXSW 2021, 2022, or 2023. The class-action lawsuit argues this as “an unenforceable, illusory, unilateral option contract that allows SXSW to sell credentials, cancel the festival for any or no reason whatsoever, and retain all customer payments while leaving (would-be attendees) without a remedy.”
The complaint can be summed up in a single sentence — “SXSW has, in effect, shifted the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic onto festivalgoers…”
The festival’s policy, as it stands, reads:
Any and all payments made to SXSW are not refundable for any reason, including, without limitation, failure to use Credentials due to illness, acts of God, travel-related problems, acts of terrorism, loss of employment and/or duplicate purchases.
SXSW put out the following statement upon the cancellation:
The City of Austin has cancelled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the City’s directions. We are devastated to share this news with you. “The show must go on” is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation.
Before its cancellation, SXSW 2020 was set to go down over March 13 – 22, 2020 in Austin, Texas.
Source: Consequence of Sound