Cooling-off period applies to online undated tickets for attractions


Providers of online tickets for attractions have adjusted their websites following an intervention by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). These providers unlawfully did not offer any cooling-off period when selling undated tickets online. The right to a cooling-off period does not apply to tickets for specific dates, as the provider will then have reserved capacity. The regular cooling-off period of 14 days for online ticket purchases applies to most other situations. In that context, it does not matter whether or not the tickets were bought from the provider’s website or through an intermediary.

Edwin van Houten, Director of ACM’s Consumer Department, explains: “Let’s say you just bought a couple of undated tickets online to a museum. But then you change your mind, and you want to return them. You will then have two weeks to cancel your purchase. However, if the museum has already counted on your attendance to their popular exhibit, because you had bought a dated ticket and, in some cases, even for a specific time slot, you will not be able to get a refund.”

Study into online ticket selling

ACM took part in a European study into price transparency in online selling. The ACM study specifically focused on the online selling of tickets to attractions such as zoos, museums, and amusement parks. ACM looked into the websites of individual attractions themselves, as well as those of intermediaries. ACM assessed to what extent they complied with the rules such as providing clear information about prices, contact options, and the right of withdrawal. Several providers failed to display their prices with all related costs included. Many providers failed to provide any information about the company behind the websites, and about contact options. In addition, ACM found that many providers failed to offer any cooling-off period for undated tickets.

ACM has discussed all of these points with the providers. In addition, ACM explained its interpretation of the rules regarding the cooling-off period for leisure services. Consequently, all providers have committed to adjusting their websites. Most providers have already done so. As a result, consumers are now provided with clearer information when purchasing online tickets for attractions.