Justice for concertgoers: Shanghai court orders partial refund for obstructed views
Published: Jun 20, 2024 05:28 PM

Photo: CCTV

On Thursday, the Minhang District People's Court in Shanghai ruled in favor of nine concertgoers who bought tickets for a Fish Leong concert in May 2023, only to find their view completely obstructed by the load-bearing columns of the stage. The court ordered the event organizers to partially refund the plaintiffs, reported the Chinese Central Television (CCTV).

The plaintiffs, purchased tickets priced at 699 yuan, 999 yuan and 1,299 yuan for the concert of the Malaysian singer. However, upon arrival, they discovered that their seats were severely obstructed by the load-bearing columns of the stage, significantly impairing their viewing experience. Dissatisfied, they sued the event company asking for a "refund and triple compensation."

The plaintiffs argued that the event company engaged in fraudulent behavior, demanding a full refund and triple compensation. However, the defendant countered that the stage design was modified before the performance to accommodate additional audiovisual equipment, and the obstruction was an unintended consequence. 

The event organizers said that they had never explicitly stated in any promotional material that the stage would be free of load-bearing columns or that there would be no obstructed views. It is inevitable that equipment and facilities at the event site would cause varying degrees of obstruction to the views of some audience members, the CCTV reported.

Upon review, the court determined that while the defendant's actions did not constitute fraud, they did "represent a breach of contract" due to the failure to provide a viewing experience commensurate with the ticket price. 

The court said that the event organizers were aware of the potential obstructions and failed to take adequate measures to mitigate the issue or inform ticket buyers in advance.

The court acknowledged that while the plaintiffs' experience was less than satisfactory, it did not justify a full refund since they stayed for the entire performance. The ruling emphasized that the plaintiffs' right to a partial refund was due to the flawed services provided.

Regarding the refund ratio, the court believes it should be determined based on the impact of the defendant's flawed performance toward the audience, which can be assessed by considering factors such as the different expectations consumers have for various ticket prices and the extent to which the colums obstructed the view of some spectators.

Therefore, the refund ratio should also be tiered according to ticket prices. Based on the plaintiffs' actual situation in this case, the court ordered the defendant to refund the plaintiff of 420 yuan, 650 yuan and 910 yuan based on the ticket prices, according to the report.

Global Times