SXSW faces massive class action lawsuit regarding no-refund policy

Ticket purchasers for the canceled 2020 installment of Austin, Texas’ famous South by Southwest Festival have filed a class action lawsuit against SXSW for not offering refunds. The lawsuit was brought forth by Maria Bromley and Pauta Kleber, two excited attendees who claim they spent more than $1,000 each in their plans to attend SXSW. Though refunds are not being offered, SXSW offered free registration to SXSW 2021, 2022, or 2023. Additionally, the two were offered a 50 percent discount to a future event. This refund alternative was announced on March 12 and expired on April 30.

The pair’s lawsuit accuses SXSW of shifting the burden of COVID-19 onto the ticket purchaser, stating, “SXSW has, in effect, shifted the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic onto festivalgoers … individuals who in these desperate times may sorely need the money they paid to SXSW for a festival that never occurred.”

SXSW responded in a statement, “Due to the unique nature of SXSW’s business, where we are reliant on one annual event, we incurred extensive amounts of non-recoupable costs well in advance of March. These expenditures, and the loss of expected revenue, have resulted in a situation where we do not have the money to issue refunds. SXSW, like many small businesses across the country, is in a dire financial situation requiring that we rely on our contracts, which have a clearly stated no refunds policy. Though we wish we were able to do more, we are doing our best to reconcile the situation and offered a deferral package option to purchasers of 2020 registrations.”

Featured image: Gary Miller/FilmMagic