Benicassim International Festival denounced for a host of abusive clauses

The FACUA-Consumers in Action group has denounced the organisers of one of the most popular music festivals in Spain, the Benicàssim International Festival (FIB), for incurring in a host of abusive clauses in the contracting conditions for tickets and subscriptions for the 2023 edition, which is scheduled to be held from July 13 to 16. The complaint has been filed with the Service of Shows and Public Establishments of the Valencian Community.

The association has been able to verify that the festival charges an extra 10 euro (plus management fees) to attendees who purchase the different tickets for the festival -which range between 47.99 and 114.99 euro- if they want to be able to enter and leave of the venue during the festival, noting that it is “essential that you have Reaccess associated with your wristband” if the user wants to “re-enter -that same day-“.

This extra Reaccess also has “limited quotas at each price”, so not even all users will have the right to enter and leave the venue, even if they were willing to pay for it.

In this sense, FACUA warns that the FIB AIE Festival could also be committing an abusive clause by limiting re-access only to those users who decide to pay an extra cost, discriminating not only against attendees who have not paid this price, but also those who by purchasing the pass later they cannot do so because the quota has been filled.

The association also points out that the organiser cannot take advantage of reasons of security or control of the venue, because in which case the limitation of re-access would be extended in a general way to all attendees, and not only to those who have not paid for the “privilege” of going in and out.

Thus, article 82 of Royal Legislative Decree 1/2007, of November 16, which approves the revised text of the General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users and other complementary laws, states that “abusive clauses will be considered all those stipulations not negotiated individually and all those practices not expressly consented to that, contrary to the requirements of good faith, cause, to the detriment of the consumer and user, a significant imbalance of the rights and obligations of the parties arising from the contract”.

This is not the only abusive clause in which the event could be incurring. In its general conditions, the organiser of the FIB indicates, in the event of a cancellation of the festival, that “in no case will the amount of the tickets be refunded if the cancellation has occurred once the festival has begun”.

The association recalls that article 62 of Royal Decree 2816/1982, of August 27, which approves the General Police Regulations for Public Shows and Recreational Activities, states that if the organiser is “forced to vary the order, date, content or composition of a show”, will also be “obliged to return the amount of the seats purchased to the public who claims it”.

Similarly, article 63 of the aforementioned regulations states that the subscribers of an event will have the right “to a refund of the money they had paid for the shows that did not take place”, among others.

In the general conditions of the FIB, the promoter of the event also prohibits access with food. Thus, in the conditions of admission it states that “the entrance of food and drink to the musical venue will not be allowed either”.

FACUA warns that, in addition to being an abusive clause by virtue of article 82 of Royal Decree 1/2007, it also goes against different resolutions of the Administration.

Thus, the Consumer Cooperation Commission established in its consultation number 5 of the year 2000 that “the clauses in which limitations are imposed on the consumer in order to acquire the products without being based on objective circumstances, must be considered abusive”.

In addition, the then Spanish Agency for Consumption, Food Safety and Nutrition (Aecosan) -now, the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (Aesan)-, published a report in 2016, related to the prohibition in cinemas, in which it concluded that there was an “unfair clause” since the consumer “is deprived of the main service, unjustifiably, having paid the entrance fee, based on a unilaterally imposed limitation regarding an accessory service that he has not requested, and taking into account that the basic activity of the company is not the sale and distribution of food and drink”.

For all these reasons, FACUA urges the Service of Shows and Public Establishments of the Valencian Community to investigate the facts and initiate the corresponding sanctioning file.