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Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp has paid for a refund for a couple unable to attend his concert after they were unable to resell their disabled access tickets via the seller AXS.

Martin Kemp refunds disabled ticket after fans' difficulty with seller
Martin Kemp refunds disabled ticket after fans’ difficulty with seller

Posting on X, a woman tweeted AXS saying: “You won’t allow me to resell the accessible ticket.

“My husband is critically ill in ICU. If we had ‘normal’ tickets, I could resell. Is this not discrimination?”

In response Kemp said: “I will refund your tix personally”.

The musician and actor, who is hosting a Back To The 80s Xmas Party! concert on Friday at Dreamland Margate, added: “I’m so sorry to hear this. I will follow up. More than that I wish your husband well. And wish him a speedy recovery And when he is well, come to another show as my guests!!”

Refund from ticket seller

Jonathan Brown, chief executive of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, told the BBC he was able to confirm that having been in touch with AXS on Friday, “the customer was contacted and refunded by AXS this morning”.

AXS told him: “We provided the customer with a full refund and are reviewing our internal processes with regard to this incident and delay in response. We wish her husband a swift recovery.”

Mr Brown added: “Ticket agents work on behalf of promoters and venues and some ticketing issues may depend on them liaising with their clients before being able to resolve difficulties.

“STAR remains committed to improving ticketing for disabled people and identifying where improvements can be made. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.”

Others have commented on the post on X, formerly Twitter, to say they have also experienced difficulties with accessible concert tickets.

‘Wild goose chase’

Alex, who is deaf and a wheelchair user, told the BBC buying accessible tickets “can often be a wild goose chase”.

She said problems include no accessible tickets in presale, an incredibly small number of tickets on offer “that means 1000s are competing for a tiny number of tickets” and that disabled viewing platforms are often far away from the platform and all one price.

“I try and contact the venue and the performer’s management to complain and request how many accessible tickets compared to general sale were available, but often I am ignored,” she added.

As she needs an interpreter with her, Alex said she is even more restricted when it comes to buying accessible tickets.

“Some venues make it so hard to book an interpreter I’ve had to send over 50 emails for one show threatening to take legal action before they finally provided one.

“I’ve even been told before to choose between needing a wheelchair space or accessing the interpreter; like I can just pick and choose what disability I have that day!”

Analysis on ‘frustration’ with accessible tickets

If you’ve tried to buy gig tickets recently, chances are you’ve found yourself eyeing resale tickets as the last remaining hope of getting through the door.

But for many disabled music gig-goers, myself included, this simply isn’t an option. Our journey is forcibly stopped at general sale (where we already face a far reduced ticket pool).

The tweet to Martin Kemp mirrored my own experiences.

I faced this frustration earlier this year when trying to get my hands on tickets for the blink-182 reunion tour. As a popular show, tickets on general sale sold out in seconds. As the gigs got closer, I became increasingly infuriated that the resale merry-go-round (however exorbitant) was shut from my grasp.

There is no clear reason why accessible tickets cannot be included within resale. Disabled fans must already offer proof of disability when purchasing tickets (through evidence of disability payments or other means). This can easily be applied to any resale process.

I eventually got my tickets by ringing on the day and being given the final pair magicked up from somewhere. Ironically this came seconds after receiving an email saying there were none available.

Whoever is winning in this process, it certainly isn’t the disabled consumer – the spending power of which is now worth some £274bn a year to UK businesses.

It’s our money, let us spend it.

According to the AXS website, accessible seats are reserved for fans with disabilities and their companions. At most venues, accessible spaces will allow enough room for guests in wheelchairs and/or provide folding chairs for guests who do not require a wheelchair.

The AXS website also lists information on how people can sell their tickets on the website or via the app, and the resale ticket, which is capped at a maximum price of 10% above the paid price, will appear on the event purchase flow within one hour.

It is not clear from the ticket provider’s website whether accessibility tickets can be resold or refunded.

Martin Kemp refunds disabled ticket after fans' difficulty with seller
Martin Kemp refunds disabled ticket after fans’ difficulty with seller

On the Citizens Advice website it recommends people “check the terms and conditions on the ticket seller’s website you use to see what they say about reselling tickets”.

It also says that generally you are “not entitled to a refund if you change your mind about going or realise you can’t go anymore”, but you are entitled to one if the “organiser cancels, moves or reschedules the event”.

The BBC has also contacted a group which connects disabled people with music and live event industries to improve access, for comment.

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