Norah Sweeney is a big Harry Styles fan – but when she paid for reserved seating at his recent Gold Coast concert – this is all she could see.
After initially refusing to refund the $222 ticket, Ticketmaster changed their mind after Norah told her story to ABC News.
Harry Styles fan pays more – sees nothing
Ms Sweeney has a disability which prevents her from standing for more than a few minutes at a time.
So, she decided to pay extra for reserved seats believing she would be able to see the stage and Styles perform.
But all she saw was a barrier and the back of two police officers – she couldn’t even see the big screens.
“I went with the pre-sale and I selected the best available seats, expecting that best available seats meant available to actually see the stage,” she said.
“We even got a disabled parking pass across the road to park in, so then to go in and be in a seat where I couldn’t even see was very disappointing.”
Carrara Stadium told ABC News a concertgoer with a disability can let staff know if they need to be moved.
They added that several had done so on the night of the Harry Styles show.
The Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone based on an impairment, according to lawyer Stephen Dryley-Collins.
“Services providers cannot treat someone with a disability less favourably than someone who does not have that disability,” he said.
“In this case, it appears that the venue would have been happy to move Ms Sweeney if she had let staff know.
“Under those circumstances, it is unlikely Carrara Stadium breached anti-discrimination laws.”
Jumping through hoops
But Nicole Lee, president of People with a Disability Australia, told ABC News that people with disabilities shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to enjoy what’s easily accessible to everybody else.
Venues need to “lift their game” to be fully accessible, Ms Lee said.
“We belong in all spaces in society, and that includes being able to go to concerts alongside our peers just like everybody else, and have full and equal access to the world around us,” she said.
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Meanwhile, Ticketmaster initially refused a refund, and told Norah their policies “generally prohibit” them from doing so.
However, soon after ABC New published her story, Ticketmaster told Ms Sweeney it had approved her refund.
The Office of Fair Trading said consumer law applies to ticketed events.
If the experience doesn’t match what was advertised, it can be considered misleading or a misrepresentation, a spokesman said.
Norah was in row A, behind general admission, and there was no indication viewing would be restricted.
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