Sheffield Wednesday: MP demands answers over season ticket refunds
An MP will seek answers from Sheffield Wednesday about how out-of-pocket season ticket holders can get their money back.
It comes after it emerged several supporters have been forced to request county court judgements against their club in order to receive a rebate for 2019/20 and 2020/21 season ticket monies.
Up to thousands of Owls fans could still be owed money for the last five home games of the 2019/20 campaign, which was concluded behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But 12 months after the deadline to apply for a rebate passed there is still no word on when refunds will be fully satisfied – and the club have refused to answer questions on the matter in recent months.
The Owls also opted not to refund 2020/21 season tickets after last term was played entirely behind closed doors, instead offering ticket credit and citing “the severe impact of Covid-19” on their cashflow.
Yet The Star has now learnt of four civil money claims successfully brought against Sheffield Wednesday by fans desperate for their money back, which the club did not contest.
Guidance from the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) states consumers will generally be entitled to a refund if goods or services paid for cannot be provided because of lockdown laws.
"A business imposing such barriers may breach consumer protection law by doing so,” it adds.
The guidance also says businesses should not require consumers to take unreasonable or unnecessary steps in order to obtain refunds – and “timeframes for providing refunds should be made clear to consumers and refunds should be given promptly and without undue delay.”
Gill Furniss, Labour MP for Brightside and Hillsborough, said: “I am concerned about the issues with refunding season tickets for matches that fans were unable to attend.
"I will be raising this with Sheffield Wednesday and the Supporters’ Trust to see how best I can support fans to get their money back.”
Lifelong Owl Sophie Henger, 29, is among those supporters who have requested a county court judgement against Sheffield Wednesday after the club chose not to contest her civil money claim, totalling £582, for 2019/20 and 2020/21 season ticket monies.
Her job working at a doctors surgery helping deliver coronavirus and flu vaccination clinics means she is no longer able to attend matches at Hillsborough regularly – but the club’s stance left her unable to get a refund.
Sophie, a regular match-going supporter since the age of 13, contacted the club on numerous occasions to plead for their understanding, only to be ignored.
"You don’t want to have to take your own club to court to get your own money back,” she said.
“It’s not the way to treat your fans. I have worked hard for that money.”
Sheffield Wednesday’s financial position appears to have improved in recent months with the arrival of 14 new signings.
Several star players have also been awarded new contracts and income streams will have been boosted by the return of spectators.
Despite this, there has been no change in policy regarding 2020/21 refunds and some 2019/20 refunds remain outstanding.
"I feel quite put off by it,” Sophie said on the prospect of returning to Hillsborough.
"I want to support my football team but the treatment I’ve had has put me off.”