The new workhorse of the summer festival consumer is being cashless wristbands. This piece of cloth with a chip that is used to move around inside the enclosure, drink and eat, is often accompanied by abusive clauses that could violate the law. It is the case of Mad Cool, held in the capital between July 6 and 11and that has been denounced by the Facua consumer association for charging the management of the return of the money of its bracelets.
Mad Cool vs. BBK Live: how the rivalry between two promoters has shaped a Spain of ultra-competitive festivals
The company charges attendees who loaded more money than they used at Mad Cool 1.5 euros for asking for a refund. It has also imposed a minimum amount of 2 euros to request it. The Río Babel festival, held a few weeks earlier at the Caja Mágica in Madrid, charged around 2 euros for the same management and established a period of seven days. Mad Cool has opened a window of ten days, until midnight on the 20th, which Facua considers "excessively short to carry out this procedure".
For all this, the association has filed a complaint before the General Directorate of Commerce and Consumption of the Community of Madrid in which he asks that they urge Mad Cool Festival SL to return "automatically" the money that is in the cashless bracelets, "regardless of the amount they have" and asks the Regional government that sanctions the organizer of the festival.
This mad cool thing seems crazy to me, I mean, do I have to pay them to give me back money that I don't use?
In other words, they force me to recharge the bracelet as it is the only means of payment, but I have to pay them to return the money that I did not spend 🙃@madcoolfestival pic.twitter.com/e8Lg1NlHN1
– Milena🔪🍇 (@Milenium_42) July 9, 2022
Facua mentions the Consumer Protection Law of the Community of Madrid, which recognizes as infractions "carrying out transactions in which conditions, surcharges or improper charges, unrequested ancillary services or minimum amounts are unjustifiably imposed on the consumer." Another violation would be "the inclusion of abusive clauses in the general conditions of contracts and advertising offers."
The association also considers that Mad Cool has violated good faith with an excessively short term, "because if the user does not act on the indicated dates, the organization would obtain unfair enrichment by appropriating the full amount of a service that finally it does not lend itself ”, they point out.
The case of the BBK
Proceeding with cashless bracelets is a common practice at various festivals. The way to proceed is as follows: the client recharges it through a mobile app or physical stands at the festival. When requesting the return, many times it is an external company that is in charge of doing it. In the case of the Babel River, it was the telecommunications service provider Idasfest, which is why they justified the imposition of a charge for management expenses.
In 2017, the Facua delegation in Euskadi denounced the BBK Live festival, held in Bilbao, for imposing a minimum when requesting money. The same thing that Mad Cool wants to do. Consumption came to open a file to the BBK. The promoter Last Tour asked that people who had a balance of less than 2 euros left in their cashless cards abstain and argued that these charges were used "to cover the costs of the transfers."
According to Facua Euskadi, the promoter did not inform users of any additional costs, despite having "imposed" a prepayment system through electronic wristbands as the only way to access or pay at the festival. The association asked the Territorial Consumer Service of Bizkaia to open a sanctioning file against Last Tour and recalled that on its website "it was clear that it did not admit the possibility of using cash or cards". This year, BBK Live eliminated the minimum cost, but continues to impose a fee for the transfer and a period of nine days to request a refund.