SXSW vs. Class Action Lawsuit

Did this festival breach its customer’s contracts for unjust enrichment?

The festival might have been canceled, but in the eyes of ticket buyers, SXSW’s profits must go on. The Texas festival, SXSW is known for being a source of happiness but has left its customer high and dry this season—and extremely unhappy. As a result, South by Southwest has been served…with a class-action lawsuit by plaintiffs Maria Bromley and Kleber Pauta. 

The suit filed on behalf of ticket holders claims a breach of contract after the organization refused to offer refunds after the festival’s cancellation on March 6th. In line with Austin’s COVID-19 regulations, the festival was prohibited from following through with it’s intended schedule of March 12-20. 

The cancellation of SXSW 2020 was not covered by insurance and festival organizers offered an alternative in lieu of their refund policy. All ticket and pass holders were offered free registration for 2021, 2022, or 2023 editions of SXSW and a 50% discount for an additional year. This offer put on the table expires today, April 30th. The plaintiffs referring to this refund and revocation policy as “unlawful, unconscionable and unenforceable.” Reasonably, the money ticket holders failed to receive from SXSW could have been helpful during this unprecedented time.

On top of the new lawsuit, SXSW’s parent company SXSW LLC, unfortunately, had to lay off a generous amount of its year-round employees. The allegations mentioned above will be reviewed by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas Austin Division, with updates to come.

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