New Law in Finland Requires Refunds for Substandard Concerts
Word to the wise for bands contemplating performances in Finland: Fans can now demand refunds for crappy concerts.
Consequence of Sound reports that the Finnish Consumer Disputes Board has handed down its ruling in a case stemming from a 2013 Chuck Berry show in which Berry, suffering from a cold, ended up apologizing to the crowd for his poor performance. Noting that the concert was "well below reasonably expected standards," board members decided that the promoters owe ticket buyers a 50 percent refund.
Realizing that they're exposing concert organizers to a potentially slippery slope of liability, the board members took pains to point out that it isn't enough for a concertgoer to be merely disgruntled in order to seek a refund — the show in question needs to be truly awful in a way that attendees had no reasonable right to expect.
"Anyone seeking a ruling like this is always spurred by a subjective opinion,” Consumer Disputes Board president Pauli Ståhlberg is quoted as saying. "That’s not enough to get a refund. What is significant is a generally agreed view that the concert was a failure, as it was in the Chuck Berry case."
Furthermore, as Ståhlberg went on to point out, the Board intends to use a varying set of criteria depending on the scope and nature of the performance — helping to ward off frivolous complaints from people who catch a subpar set from a second- or third-tier act at a festival, for example: "There are numerous different performers at a festival and so it have to be evaluated as a whole. Even the marching order affects perception of the overall quality. A failed performance by a featured star is a bigger deal for consumers than one by a warm-up band."
And while Berry might have found it difficult to deliver while being hopped up on cold meds, everyone knows plenty of rockers have played some of the best shows of their lives after ingesting much stronger substances. "It’s not at all unusual at rock festivals that some artists are high," mused Ståhlberg. "That doesn’t even necessarily affect the quality of their performances."
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