A few days later, the Maryland couple received an email informing them that tickets purchased for seven events will not be fully refunded. And the partial refund would not come until the summer.
Eric Hildebrandt said they are expected to lose around $ 700 in processing fees that will be withheld by CoSport, the authorized ticket reseller in the United States.
“It’s almost like the cherry on top of that giant bitter pill,” said Eric. “We have been looking forward to it since Tokyo was announced. And then the news got worse and worse. “
The Tokyo Olympics, postponed last year due to the pandemic, are slated to begin on July 23. However, the organizers have banned spectators from outside Japan for health reasons.
In an email on Saturday, CoSport of Far Hills, NJ, gave U.S. ticket holders the option to request a refund until April 9, but informed them that they were only entitled to get the face value of tickets back – not the ones handling fee added at time of purchase.
That was 20 percent of the price of each ticket, up to a maximum of 6,000 yen (nearly $ 55) per ticket.
“When they came out and said, ‘No, it won’t happen for you,’ we just hoped CoSport would understand that they were going to say, ‘Yeah, it’s not the buyer’s fault. You haven’t done anything wrong, ”said Eric Hildebrandt.
“So it was a heavy pill to swallow. The whole family is amazed. “
In an interview, CoSport boss Alan Dizdarevic said that the cost of ticket processing had already been incurred and spent – and argued that the ultimate responsibility rests with the Japanese government and the organizers.
CoSport asked Japan to reimburse all expenses for international spectators.
“We tried and were flatly told no,” said Dizdarevic in an interview. “We were told, ‘No, you get face value because that’s what the ticket sales contract says. And your customers get that. ‘”
In an email response to questions, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee said it would “refund the full face value of the ticket, which is the amount Tokyo 2020 received for its sale”.
It said it “does not receive any portion of such processing fees” governed by the terms and conditions set independently by the authorized ticket resellers.
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, which ultimately grants CoSport control over ticket sales in the US, declined to comment.
CoSport has sold Olympic tickets in the last 10 summer and winter games and is the world’s largest retailer for Olympic tickets.
This time around 70,000 tickets were sold in eight countries, including the USA, Australia, Sweden, Norway and Greece.
According to official figures from Tokyo, around 600,000 tickets for the Olympic Games and 30,000 for the Paralympics were sold to overseas spectators.
Dizdarevic said the company’s only deal is around the Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics, so the overseas ticket cancellation in Tokyo had a huge impact on his finances.
According to the agreement with the organizing committee, it has to pay for tickets in Japanese yen and sell them in local currency in each country, with bank currency conversion fees of 2.5 percent in addition to credit card service fees – a fee that is charged a second time arise when refunds are made, he said.
Customers who paid extra to physically ship tickets would be reimbursed that fee, he said.
But that doesn’t impress Bruce Loeb, a New York marketing consultant who attended the 1996 Atlanta Games and planned to travel to Tokyo from the day it was announced. Through the CoSports system he had managed to get tickets for volleyball, badminton, athletics, boxing and beach volleyball.
The CoSport email ended up in his junk mail folder over the weekend, but when he fished it out he was “quite surprised and shocked and upset” to find out he wasn’t just waiting until the third quarter had to get his money back on tickets he bought almost two years ago, but he also had to lose at least $ 800.
What really annoys him, however, is that CoSport is asking customers to waive any right to take further action against the company.
“That was the most annoying part of it all. I do not know what to do. Do I wait to suck it up and do you know I’m going to lose the 20 percent? ” he said.
Ticket buyers in some other countries may receive full refunds. For example, in the UK, TeamGB, an authorized ticket reseller, has already announced that refunds will be paid out in full. CoSport customers in Australia and Europe have yet to be told what will happen to them.
Dizdarevic said refunds were due to local consumer protection laws.
“In some countries, such as the UK, there are laws where the agent – the travel agent is usually the way they are viewed – has to return the full amount of money including the handling fee,” he said.
“But when they have these kinds of laws, there are usually safeguards in place for the company to get those funds back, whether through insurance or through a government program, when there are these massive travel problems or disruptions.”
Ticket owner Loeb said he felt bad for companies suffering from the coronavirus but said it was hard to bear such high costs.
“If they said, ‘Sorry, you’re losing $ 20 or something more reasonable,’ I wouldn’t be so upset. But I’m sorry, we’re talking about a lot of money. I lost my job last year. Lots of people lost things. We all have to suck it up a bit. “
“The whole thing,” he added, “seems strange and frankly scandalous.”
Maese reported from Washington and Denyer from Tokyo.