Nicki Minaj’s Dublin gig controversy: Can disappointed fans get a refund – and, if so, how?

Q&A: Guidance for fans angry over rapper taking to Malahide stage 90 minutes late and playing for less than an hour

Nicki Minaj appeared on stage at Malahide Castle significantly later than expected. Photograph: Astrida Valigorsky/WireImage

As anger continues to grow among fans of Nicki Minaj following her dramatically curtailed concert in Dublin last weekend, focus is turning to whether or not people could be entitled to a full or partial refund because the rapper performed for less than half the time she was expected to at Malahide Castle. The promoter behind the event, MCD, has so far not responded to queries on the matter.

However, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has confirmed concerts are covered under consumer protection laws and suggested that disappointed fans may have recourse to rights that fall due under legislation.

On its Facebook page, before the concert took place, MCD said the rapper’s set was due to start at 8.20pm, and a curfew of 10.30pm had been imposed.

That would have implied that Minaj was due to perform for at least two hours.


However, she appeared on stage some 90 minutes later than scheduled and played for less than one hour, or half the time fans expected.

Angry fans have been posting on MCD’s social media accounts, with many calling for refunds.

The concert was “an absolute disgrace,” one poster said. She said her daughter and her friends left before the concert even started as they were afraid they wouldn’t get home. MCD need to address this serious situation,” she said, suggesting that refunds were the only option.

Another social media user described the event as “disgraceful” and said fans were “wet, tired and dismayed. No apology, no acknowledgment ... It was a joke of a concert. People left before it started or had to leave at 10.30 to get public transport. It also ended abruptly too. There should be a gesture of goodwill made. MCD need to sort this out.”

Many others called on MCD to begin issuing refunds.

The Irish Times contacted the promoter on Monday and again on Tuesday asking if it was prepared to comment or consider refunding fans who had paid close to €100, and some even more than that, for tickets.

The queries have so far gone unacknowledged.

However, the CCPC noted that concerts are covered by consumer law.

“Under consumer protection law, traders must supply services, including concerts, that match the contract they have in place with the consumer,” a spokeswoman said.

“Where the trader fails to supply the service in accordance with the contract, the consumer may have the right to terminate the contract, and receive a full or partial refund.”

She said with regard to the Nicki Minaj concert, “[W]e would therefore suggest that the consumer refers back to the terms and conditions to see if they stipulate the performance times of the artist.”

The spokeswoman said that if “after reviewing the terms and conditions the consumer believes that the trader is acting outside of the contract terms and conditions, we would suggest that they consider making a formal complaint to the trader in writing, outlining the issue and how they would like the matter to be resolved.”

Nicki Minaj performs in Rabat, Morocco. Photograph: Jalal Morchidi/EPA

If the matter remains unresolved, consumers “may wish to request a chargeback from their card provider and/or consider lodging a claim through the Small Claims Court”.

The spokeswoman said it cannot “intervene on behalf of individual consumers”, adding that its role is “to inform consumers so that they understand their rights and empower them to take the necessary action”.

“If consumers have particular concerns, we encourage them to contact our helpline by phoning 01 402 5555 or by e-mailing with the full details,” the spokeswoman said.

Shane MacSweeney, a solicitor in Galway, said there are two potential avenues for fans seeking a legal remedy.

Where to complain about Nicki Minaj’s Dublin gig?

Mr MacSweeney said the more obvious route for fans is to make a complaint via the CCPC, as the body “has the powers to direct businesses to make retribution in those circumstances”.

The business in this case would be MCD. A complainant would need to identify the concert promoter and then establish that there was a breach of contract.

“The second avenue is a cumbersome one,” Mr MacSweeney said, citing the Small Claims procedure, which can be used to resolve consumer disputes for claims worth less than €2,000.

Theoretically, the case could be brought before the District Court and would represent a nuisance for the defendant. The company could “incur far more expense in engaging a lawyer than the value of the claim itself,” Mr MacSweeney said.

However, bringing a claim to that level, Mr MacSweeney said, would be like “briefing an architect to design a dog’s kennel”.

Nicki Minaj performs at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2023. Photograph: Doug Peters/PA
What expenses could be included in a claim?

It may prove difficult to recoup the full price of the concert ticket. Fans were able to listen to about an hour of a set, and “one assumes they had an opportunity to see one or two support acts,” Mr MacSweeney said.

“They won’t get any general damages, but it is possible that anyone who travelled and booked hotels, and incurred transport costs – they could include those in a claim.”

Are you entitled to a refund for the Nicki Minaj concert?

The short answer is that, in practical terms, it may be quite difficult to get a refund for the gig. Still, a claim brought against the promoter may be awkward enough to end up being successful.

Quite likely, themost likely best route for a fan feeling aggrieved about their concert experience is to lodge a complaint via the CCPC, explaining that the service did not meet expectations in a manner that constituted a breach of contract.