Amid coronavirus, SXSW won't offer refunds to ticket buyers

SXSW’s terms and conditions note that conference organizers 'do not issue refunds under any circumstances'

South By Southwest will not offer refunds to registrants following a decision by officials in Austin, Texas, to cancel the lucrative conference due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, organizers are planning to enact other means to reimburse people affected by the policy.

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SXSW’s terms and conditions note that conference organizers “do not issue refunds under any circumstances.” Outbreaks such as the coronavirus are covered as “acts of God” that do not trigger automatic reimbursement.

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“Any and all payments made to SXSW are not refundable for any reason, including, without limitation, failure to use credentials due to illness, acts of God, travel-related problems, acts of terrorism, loss of employment and/or duplicate purchases,” the SXSW website says.

However, individuals who purchased passes to SXSW 2020 aren’t completely out of luck. Organizers will allow ticket buyers to “defer” their purchase to future SXSW conferences.

The offer runs through 2023, a SXSW spokesperson told the New York Post.

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“We are also working on other ways to add value to their deferred registration so not only will they be able to take advantage of a future SXSW but there will be extra benefits included, as well,” the spokesperson said.

A popular tech, film and music event, SXSW was canceled at the behest of local officials in Austin. The cancellation cost the Austin economy its most profitable annual event.

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SXSW generated a positive economic impact of $355.9 million in 2019 alone, according to an organizer-funded study.

SXSW is one of countless events that have been canceled or postponed over coronavirus. More than 125,000 individual cases of coronavirus were confirmed worldwide as of Wednesday afternoon, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.

Facebook and Google have each shifted upcoming conferences to online-only events to protect the public. E3, the popular video game industry trade show, was canceled entirely.

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