Thursday, February 19, 2009

NME Awards event hit by Trinity Street collapse

The collapse of Trinity Street has taken out a swathe of the audience for next week's Cure NME gig at the Millennium Dome. Fans who'd forked out for a ticket have been getting this email:

Please read on for further information regarding your tickets for the Big Gig/The Cure at The O2 on 26 February.

We understand you have purchased these tickets from Trinity St, but Trinity St has not fulfilled this transaction and delivered these tickets to you. It appears that Trinity St has now ceased trading and, as of Monday 16th February, was very likely to go into administration. Please note that Trinity St has not accounted to us for any of these ticket monies, and therefore your ticket purchases are invalid.

You may wish to apply directly to the administrators of Trinity St for a refund of your ticket monies (we set out their address below). However, we appreciate that this may take some time and may well not be successful. Alternatively, you may seek to claim a refund of your monies through your credit/debit card company. We also set out some information on this below.

In the meantime, we have managed to make available to you for purchase similar floor standing tickets (as per your original order) which we will hold for you till Saturday 21st February at 6pm. Please use the BUY link and unique passcode, listed below, if you wish to purchase these tickets while you are going through the claims process. This passcode is unique to you and not transferable. Please ensure you use the same postal address for delivery as your original order as any other orders will unfortunately be cancelled.

If you feel you are not in a position whereby you are able to afford to purchase the tickets that have been held for you, we have a limited number of complimentary tickets in the rear seated blocks on Tier 400. We will confirm back to you by 12 noon on Monday 23rd February if your request can be fulfilled. We will try to accommodate as many such requests as possible, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate everyone. Unfortunately, please bear in mind that the location of these complimentary tickets is towards the back of the arena in the top level, seated, and not standing tickets as per your original request.

Please note that requests for complimentary tickets will not be fulfilled if you have also used the link above to purchase replacement tickets.

Both AEG Live and NME are sorry for any inconvenience that this has caused you. We would like to stress that at the time of working with Trinity Street there was no reason to believe that the company would cease trading.

This has, it appears, gone out to some 500-plus ticket holders (or, rather, ex-ticket holders); many of whom are a bit unhappy. The "sorry" at the end doesn't really seem to be especially heartfelt, and the "look, the tickets have gone, we're not giving you your money back - and good luck with that - but you can have first refusal at buying them again" offer hasn't gone down well.

To be fair to the NME, it isn't their fault that Trinity has gone down, and there is some sort of grudging attempt to do the right thing by offering the lottery for an unnamed number of crappier tickets.

But this is the risk you run when you proudly slap your brand onto other people's services and outsource fulfilment. Especially in the current climate.

And the email does suggest that the organisers are putting their financial comfort ahead of the people who had trusted them when they bought tickets. The tickets are there to be re-sold (and, presumably, offered on the open market if they're not taken up by February 21st) and AEG appear to have details of who had bought what. The only thing AEG doesn't have is the cash, which seems to have disappeared into the Trinity hole.

If you were in charge of the NME brand, you might weigh up who you wanted to take the financial hit - Time Warner Inc, or the people who buy your magazines and products, before deciding if you'll send the 'want to try buying your tickets again?' email.

The collapse isn't the NME's fault, but the way it's been handled since is.

[Thanks to Cat C and Peter D, who both contacted me]

UPDATE: 21/02/09 - There's been a change of heart, and now people who originally bought tickets will receive them at no extra cost. Kudos to AEG & NME for changing their minds


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