Western Australia’s Consumer Protection agency has warned event organisers and promoters to ensure that their advertising is accurate and a true representation of what ticket buyers will be offered so their experience matches what was promised.
The warning, which was issued last month, follows public complaints from people who attended BaliFest at Mandurah over the Easter weekend, with Consumer Protection receiving similar complaints being about the Monster Creature World event at Claremont Showgrounds in January this year.
Disappointed BaliFest consumers believe they were misled by the marketing hype which overpromised but underdelivered when it came to the real experience of festivalgoers, forcing the event’s organisers to apologise, issue refunds and offer free entry.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said there is a difference between acceptable marketing hype and misleading consumers.
“Consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law are designed to ensure that goods and services, including events, match the description given or advertised, and be of acceptable quality,” she said.
“If the imagery and statements used in advertising falsely represents what consumers will actually experience when they attend the event, then the organisers or promoters may be required to offer a partial or full refund, as well as leaving themselves open to enforcement action for making false or misleading representations in breach of the ACL.
“That’s apart from the anger they may experience from disappointed customers who will use social media to post bad reviews, which will not augur well for planned future events.
“The same applies to the promotion of music events. There have been issues in the past if the event is cancelled or certain performers who were advertised to attend, don’t turn up. In these cases, organisers should be prepared to provide refunds.”
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