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Do a cinema have a right to withold a refund if the patron was too young?

  • 16-05-2018 5:30pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,654 ✭✭✭ komodosp


    My son attempted to go into an 18s movie (Deadpool), however he is 14. They wouldn't let him in, which I have no problem with.

    However, they would not give him a refund either. Are they within their rights to do this?

    My reason for asking is that they were happy to take his money (he bought the ticket in there, rather than online), so if they weren't going to let him in, then I would think that's when they should have stopped him (the same way an off-licence would simply refuse to sell him beer, not take his money then tell him he can't have any).

    I looked up their terms and conditions, and they do say they don't offer refunds in this case for online purchases - this is understandable since they have no control over who buys online, and they ask you to read the terms and conditions before purchasing. But it's not like he was shown any terms and conditions when buying the ticket over the counter, they had the opportunity to deny him a ticket then.


    Just to add, though, that they offered to allow him to watch another film within his age range. There was nothing he wanted to see so he didn't take them up on this


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Comments

  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,691 ✭✭✭ 4ensic15


    They can't keep the money. He is a minor and can only form a contract for necessaries. It is theft, plain and simple.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,687 ✭✭✭✭ Samuel T. Cogley


    4ensic15 wrote: »
    They can't keep the money. He is a minor and can only form a contract for necessaries. It is theft, plain and simple.

    Unlike you to overreach. No they can't keep his money but it's not theft as that requires a dishonesty element. This is a contractual matter.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,863 Fred Swanson


    This post has been deleted.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,691 ✭✭✭ 4ensic15


    Unlike you to overreach. No they can't keep his money but it's not theft as that requires a dishonesty element. This is a contractual matter.

    It is dishonest to take money from a minor who does not have the capacity to contract and then refuse to honour the contract because of his minority but retain the consideration.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,379 ✭✭✭ CeilingFly


    If he bought directly from an employee, then they mis-sold the ticket and if anything, they should be disciplined.

    If he bought from a ticket machine and claimed he was over 18, then its debatable whether there's a legal right to a refund, but it would be the right thing to do.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,687 ✭✭✭✭ Samuel T. Cogley


    CeilingFly wrote: »
    If he bought directly from an employee, then they mis-sold the ticket and if anything, they should be disciplined.

    If he bought from a ticket machine and claimed he was over 18, then its debatable whether there's a legal right to a refund, but it would be the right thing to do.

    No contract can be formed - there's no question of the money being returned.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,671 ✭✭✭ eringobragh


    Is he 100% telling the truth - I worked in a cinema donkeys years ago and the trick at the time (and prob still is) was to buy a ticket for a PG film around the same time and sneak into the 18s flick :pac: I tried it myself in my youth truth be told

    They are quite strict with selling to under 18s so if he looks quite young id say he chanced his arm and got caught


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,863 Fred Swanson


    This post has been deleted.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,654 ✭✭✭ komodosp


    How did he manage to obtain a ticket?

    It was sold to him over the counter by an employee, but a good half an hour before the film was due to start. Then, spent a bit of time outside, and closer to the start time, tried to get into where the screens are and was stopped.
    Or he got some older kids to buy for him.

    Not impossible (though I don't think so), but for the purpose of the question, let's say he's telling the truth.

    I have to add, though that they offered to allow him to watch another film within his age range. There was nothing he wanted to see so he didn't take them up on this.


  • Administrators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,706 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ hullaballoo


    The infancy of the purchaser is not really relevant as a fourteen year old has more than adequate capacity to enter a valid contract with a theatre.

    It's a failure of consideration that would ground an action for money had and received. Unfortunately, there are problems enforcing the strict legal rights involved due to the small value of the claim.


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,691 ✭✭✭ 4ensic15


    The infancy of the purchaser is not really relevant as a fourteen year old has more than adequate capacity to enter a valid contract with a theatre.

    It's a failure of consideration that would ground an action for money had and received. Unfortunately, there are problems enforcing the strict legal rights involved due to the small value of the claim.
    A minor only has the capacity to contract for necessaries. It can't be a necessary if he is too you to be admitted to the performance.


  • Administrators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,706 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ hullaballoo


    Necessary or beneficial.

    Cultural enrichment by way of film-going is beneficial. There are also no onerous terms that could vitiate capacity in a contract for a cinema ticket.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,379 ✭✭✭ CeilingFly


    Then its very very simple.

    Here's the official line...

    "It is an offence in Ireland for a cinema to allow entry to a film by someone below the classified age. (In other words, if someone under 18 is allowed view a film for over 18's). If you see this happening, you should report the offence to your local Gardai and they will initiate proceedings under the Censorship of Films Acts."


    And whilst he was prevented from going in, they did sell him the ticket for a restricted film, so whilst they didn't let him in, they did sell the ticket and informing them you will make a complaint to the gardai under the censorship of film act will ensure you get your refund. - Even having the hassle of gardai calling for information is not worth the price of a ticket for the cinema management.

    If its a chain cinema, a complaint to head office would also work.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,257 Yawns


    Just to point out, that Deadpool 2 is a 16 rating not 18. Might explain why the kid may have been able to purchase a ticket.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,691 ✭✭✭ 4ensic15


    Necessary or beneficial.

    Cultural enrichment by way of film-going is beneficial. .

    Not if the minor is too you. It is deemed to be more harmful than beneficial. He certainly had no capacity to contract for something the film censor decided he shouldn't see, on account of his age.


  • Administrators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,706 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ hullaballoo


    4ensic15 wrote: »
    Not if the minor is too you. It is deemed to be more harmful than beneficial. He certainly had no capacity to contract for something the film censor decided he shouldn't see, on account of his age.

    We'll have to agree to disagree. I'm not spending my time arguing such a point. I am certainly not going to agree with the above and have us both being wrong as that benefits no one.

    Minors have capacity to and do enter perfectly valid contracts for normal, everyday things all of the time. Going to the cinema is amongst those. Whether a fourteen year old seeing a film designated on a seemingly arbitrary basis to be for over sixteens is regarded as more harmful than beneficial is not really something I think has any bearing on the formation of a contract ab initio.

    You disagree, that's fine, but it's a bit of a moot argument considering we both agree that the OP's child is entitled to their money back at law.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,691 ✭✭✭ 4ensic15


    We'll have to agree to disagree. I'm not spending my time arguing such a point. I am certainly not going to agree with the above and have us both being wrong as that benefits no one.

    Minors have capacity to and do enter perfectly valid contracts for normal, everyday things all of the time. Going to the cinema is amongst those. Whether a fourteen year old seeing a film designated on a seemingly arbitrary basis to be for over sixteens is regarded as more harmful than beneficial is not really something I think has any bearing on the formation of a contract ab initio.

    You disagree, that's fine, but it's a bit of a moot argument considering we both agree that the OP's child is entitled to their money back at law.

    The general presumption is that a minor can't contract unless it is for a necessary. It cannot be necessary if authority has declared that it should not be availed of at all. The arbitrariness of that decision is irrelevant. Chronological age is used as a device to measure capacity in many situations. A person can drive a car before they can legally contract to buy one for example. The argument is not moot since the reasoning is relevant in a discussion and also in an argument with the cinema. It will only become moot when the money is refunded. In any case, since legal advice can't be given I am assuming this is a hypothetical situation. Therefore the point of the discussion is srgument rather than problem solving.


  • Administrators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,706 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ hullaballoo


    You're incorrect. Remember that it is for the infant to repudiate the contract.

    Why go there and enter into a discussion on capacity or otherwise when a perfectly good ground for suit avails itself in tort?

    I paid for something and I didn't get it or any of it... an action for money had and received. Why bother with trying to repudiate a contract on the basis of incapacity when there is a perfectly available alternative?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,577 ✭✭✭ DesperateDan


    I like you guys :D I feel like my IQ is going up reading these comments


  • Registered Users Posts: 77,981 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    It was, presumably a cash transaction. Hence it is a matter of the purchaser trying to obtain a refund, as opposed to a vendor trying to obtain payment.

    It is not a crime for an under-age person to buy a ticket for a restricted film (they could be buying it for someone else), but it is one for the cinema to allow an underage person to watch.

    Are contracts with minors void or voidable? I imagine there is a sliding scale in line with the level of necessity.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacity_in_English_law
    Thus, contracts for necessaries (goods or services deemed necessary for ordinary living) will always be legally binding

    Can a cinema ticket be considered a reasonable necessity for a teenager? I think it is arguable that it is, it is no set of 14 waist coats or 35 year lease. It isn't a contract with 'particularly burdensome or unfair terms'.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,957 ✭✭✭✭ fritzelly


    Quick look at cineworld for example - tickets are non refundable, I would imagine all of them do the same.

    Doesn't matter the ticket was for a film with a certification above the purchasers age - they were refused entry to see the film so the cinema did nothing wrong in selling the ticket


  • Registered Users Posts: 36,071 ✭✭✭✭ ED E


    Is it not the case that a parent or guardian may accompany a minor to a film rated above their age(haven't checked the act)? If so it seems reasonable that a cinema would sell him the ticket.


  • Registered Users Posts: 77,981 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    ED E wrote: »
    Is it not the case that a parent or guardian may accompany a minor to a film rated above their age(haven't checked the act)? If so it seems reasonable that a cinema would sell him the ticket.
    Not for 16s and 18s - each person needs to be that age.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,415 ✭✭✭ donegal_man


    It was sold to him over the counter by an employee, but a good half an hour before the film was due to start. Then, spent a bit of time outside, and closer to the start time, tried to get into where the screens are and was stopped.



    The bit in bold makes me wonder if the ticket was in fact purchased by someone older and then passed on in hopes that if they went in en masse there would be no attention paid. If the ticket was in fact purchased by an older friend then I doubt if the cinema has any liability to refund as all they did was enforce the legal requirement not to admit the minor.
    Anyway if there are staff handling cash there's a better than even chance the desk is monitored by CCTV so the matter of who supplied the ticket should be easy enough to resolve.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,577 ✭✭✭ Indricotherium



    I paid for something and I didn't get it or any of it... an action for money had and received.

    The child did get and still has the ticket they paid for.

    The ticket itself was valid and could have been redeemed by someone aged 16.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,167 ✭✭✭ B-D-P--


    Ok, so this is actually a made up scenario, (For me, Im sure it has happened)

    What if I bought a concert ticket, lets say for eddie sheeran considering he's around.
    And I was too drunk and they sent me away?
    Or I was kicked out before and they wont let me in (Eg big night in nightclub)

    Who's stuck with the loss, me or them?

    again I honestly made this up, but just curious.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,751 ✭✭✭ mirrorwall14


    B-D-P-- wrote: »
    Ok, so this is actually a made up scenario, (For me, Im sure it has happened)

    What if I bought a concert ticket, lets say for eddie sheeran considering he's around.
    And I was too drunk and they sent me away?
    Or I was kicked out before and they wont let me in (Eg big night in nightclub)

    Who's stuck with the loss, me or them?

    again I honestly made this up, but just curious.

    For a comparison to this though, would you not have to have bought the ticket on the night of the event while drunk and then refused entry to the event even though they sold you the ticket drunk?


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,691 ✭✭✭ 4ensic15


    For a comparison to this though, would you not have to have bought the ticket on the night of the event while drunk and then refused entry to the event even though they sold you the ticket drunk?

    To avoid a contract entered into while drunk it has to be shown that the other party knew of the drunkenness and took advantage of it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,190 ✭✭✭ NUTLEY BOY


    In relation to the "necessities" argument see the Infants Relief Act 1874 and Nash -v- Inman [1908] 2 KB 1.

    On the face of it this seems like a straightforward failure of consideration issue. The infant furnished his consideration and the cinema did not furnish it's consideration.

    The cinema may be trying to argue that by virtue of Ts & Cs they have no contractual obligation to return the consideration paid by the infant. I don't see how they can stand up that argument if there is no contract and or the contract is unenforceable against the infant.

    Whatever about any theft arguments you could certainly contend that there is unjust enrichment to the benefit of the cinema. The cinema cannot have it both ways.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 77,981 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    What if the cinema suffers a loss, as it might not be able to re-sell a ticket to a busy screening?


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