Hamilton delay: reallocated ticket holders blast ‘appalling’ customer service
Frustrated ticket holders for delayed West End musical Hamilton have complained about the “appalling” process of reallocating seats, which has left some fearing they may not get to see the show at all.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s highly anticipated musical was due to begin previews at a refurbished Victoria Palace Theatre on November 21, but this was delayed last month until December 6, as construction work at the venue will not be completed in time.
Around 16,000 audience members needed to be rebooked for the two weeks of cancelled performances of the show, which is co-produced by the Victoria Palace’s owner Cameron Mackintosh.
A representative for the show told The Stage that 80% of affected patrons had now been reallocated into one of the three dates they were able to request.
However, customers complained about being left in the dark for longer than the stated 10-day period before learning whether their reallocation requests had been successful, while some ticket holders criticised the “arbitrary” process they said resulted in having no choice but to have their money refunded.
Paul Sutton, artistic director of creative education company C&T, told The Stage he was “broadly sympathetic” to the situation faced by the show’s producers, but said he felt the customer service experience, which has left him without any tickets, had been “appalling”.
When they came on sale in January, Sutton booked tickets for himself and his family for December 21, outside the period affected by the delay. However, the new performance schedule meant that his tickets fell on the night of the show’s rearranged press night.
He was notified that his tickets had been cancelled, but due to his children’s school term dates he could not attend the performance he was then offered. After selecting three alternative dates, he was told that none were available.
“I was baffled as to why it had affected me because our performance is happening. Why on earth am I being shunted out and as the ticket booker regarded as second rate?” he said.
“This is a massive customer service problem. It’s totally arbitrary, the dates they allocate you. I live in Worcester, not London, so it’s not that easy [to attend the show].”
Sutton is now waiting for a refund on his tickets. Once this is processed he has the option of trying to rebook for available dates between March and June next year. However, he said: “They’re just giving us our money back. They’re basically saying, ‘We’re washing our hands of you.’ They’ve had over £250 of my money for nine months and I’m going to end up in a position where I don’t have any tickets.”
Another ticket holder, Alice Preece, booked £80 stalls seats during the original preview period but was later reallocated to seats in the Royal Circle. She said she felt short-changed by the swap.
“I wouldn’t say side seats in the Royal Circle are particularly close to central stalls seats. I was upset and frustrated,” she told The Stage.
“At the moment I don’t really have an option other than to go see the show in the poor seats I’ve now been allocated. I got off easy compared to some people who had their tickets cancelled or who were reseated on separate rows to their friends, but it isn’t great for any of us.”
A representative for the production confirmed the 20% that had not been reseated into one of their chosen dates had been offered tickets for an alternative performance as close to the beginning of the run as possible, but if this was not suitable “the producers will enable patrons to book online and select a later performance of their choice”.
She added that Ticketmaster had contacted customers before the 10-working-day period had ended to explain that there would be a delay.