Regulate concert organisers?
In a rare occurrence, there was talk of K-pop concerts in Parliament yesterday.
MP for Mountbatten Lim Biow Chuan had asked a question about the need to regulate concert and event organisers. This is so that concert goers would be able to get a refund in the event the concert gets cancelled.
Responding to Mr Lim, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong said that ticket purchases are covered under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act which lets them pursue civil action through the Small Claims Tribunal.
He said that the current ticketing agents are mostly self-regulating and also have refund policies in place.
Citing Sistic, one of the largest ticket retailers here, he said the company has a refund policy and would hold ticketing proceeds until after the event before handing it over to event organisers. This is to ensure that they can refund customers in full in case of a cancellation.
"For these reasons, there may not be a need to introduce new regulatory measures at this stage," said Mr Wong.
"Instead, the preferred approach is to push more on industry self-regulation and to raise consumer awareness."
Mr Wong added that last year, there were only five cancellations - much fewer than in other cities such as London and New York.
He highlighted the case of the MBC Korean Music Wave (KMV) concert as being the only one where ticket buyers have been unable to get a full refund.
The event was called off 10 days before the scheduled date last November.
Days later, it was revealed that local organiser Fatfish Entertainment was folding, meaning that concertgoers who had bought tickets directly from Fatfish would not get a full refund, unlike others who had bought from ticketing agents like Sistic and Qoo10.
For student Jenice Tan, 15, it was nearly $700 of her savings gone. She had queued up before dawn at a pre-sale event to buy the tickets, which were said to have been discounted.
Till today, she has not heard from Fatfish and has yet to get a refund.
"I think they should have rules regulating concert organisers so they can't cancel concerts without giving notice," she said, adding that even if an event was cancelled, there should be some way of refunding ticket buyers.
It will be good to have (some regulation) about concert cancellation because other than the issue about ticket refunds, it also affects Singapore's reputation as a concert venue.
- K-pop fan Liyana Hatib, a polytechnic student