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MWC exhibitors left out of pocket as GSMA refuses refunds

The GSM Association (GSMA) will not refund exhibitors who paid for stands at MWC 2020.

According to a report by Telecoms.com, a pair of exhibitors have been informed that they will not be reimbursed for the cancelled event. Those companies were directed to a clause of the Standard Terms and Conditions for Exhibition, Advertising, and Sponsorship, which bluntly states that “The Organiser shall not be liable to the Company for any losses, costs, damages or expenses (whether incurred under contract, tort or otherwise) suffered or incurred as a direct or indirect result of an event beyond the control of the Organiser.”

Commenting on the story, one aggrieved user claiming to be a “smaller telecom supplier” said that “MWC and its sub suppliers are simply referring to the contracts where they are 100% covering themselves and where all the onus is always on us as exhibitors, so we have to pay even though it is they who cancel and actually the contract states we have to pay due to basically any reason, they are never obliged to refund us.”

Another wrote: “GSMA is trying to build a narrative which is not valid. It’s unfortunate that sponsors did not trust that the event would be safe, but the threat of the possibility of a virus and no confirmation from WHO is not the same situation outlined in their contracts.”

While the GSMA had initially planned on hosting the event amid the outbreak of the Coronavirus, big names such as LG, Nvidia, Intel, Sony, Amazon and BT all announced that they would not be in attendance. With such a smaller pool of attendees and serious concerns over safety, the body pulled the plug.

It had been reported that GSMA had attempted to lobby the Spanish government to declare a health emergency. This would have allowed GSMA to claim back insurance on losses incurred by cancelling the event.

Local paper La Vanguardia followed this by citing Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, who stated that there was “no reason whatsoever” to declare a state of emergency, and that the city was “perfectly prepared” to host the event.

Tags: MWC