For some years now, the ordinary Ghanaian music lover has incessantly been robbed by cunning event organizers, and until the issue of false advertisement is tackled, this trend will gain undeserving roots in our fast growing Entertainment industry.
How many times have you bought a ticket to a Ghanaian concert and only to be disappointed by the fact that, some of the artistes (probably the main persons why you bought the ticket) will not show up or were never even hired to show up?
Some of these advertisement gimmicks can easily be spotted and avoided. For instance, if a concert of 3 hours says it has 15 artistes on the bill, then I will certainly scratch my head before eventually purchasing a ticket. It is highly probably in this case that my favourite artiste (reason for my ticket purchase) will not show up.
On the other hand, it becomes very difficult to spot false concert advertisements when there are less than 5 artistes on the bill.
There are several instances where some event organizers have used photos and names of artistes they have not even contacted their managements for concert advertisements with the sole intention of benefiting to the detriment of innocent Ghanaian music lovers-scamming. On the day of such concerts, the innocent patrons get caught up with disappointments whiles the event organizers laugh out loud with fat pockets full of money.
I have been looking around to establish whether there are specific laws and bodies to regulate such false advertisements in Ghana as far as the Entertainment sector is concern. Shockingly, my findings suggest that, as usual there are countless laws and bodies in place but regulation is weakened by non adherence to these laws.
The common law principle of Contract is a strong tool in such dealings. Legally, the moment an event organizer places a concert advert, he is via the advertisement inviting you for a treat (invitation to treat). At this stage, he has not made any offer and his advertisement is merely an invitation to treat- invitatio ad offerendum .
However, if you go ahead to make an offer by purchasing a ticket based on his invitation to treat and he accepts your offer by taking your money, then he is binding under Contract to give you whatever was entailed in your offer (in this case the details of his invitation to treat-advertisement).
The above therefore means, if Sarkodie was advertised (invitation to treat) and based on this advertisement you make an offer which the event organizer accepts, then Sarkodie MUST be at the show. If Sarkodie does not show up, in principle you have the right to sue for damages for a breach of contract.
But the lack of enforcement of the law of contract in Ghana among ordinary people renders the above totally useless. Some event organizers are very much aware of the fact that enforcement of contracts on such smaller scale in Ghana does not exist and as such, they seem to care less about what they place in their advertisements.
If the ordinary concert lover in Ghana cannot practically rely on the doctrine of contract, then what are we left with? Does that mean event organizers have an increasing right to scam our pockets? Maybe the answer is YES.
It is sad that the various regulatory bodies seem not to be bothered about this. Can MUSIGA step in to make sure that artistes are not falsely advertised? Probably yes but is that their legal standing?
Since the law of contract and the various regulatory bodies cannot do much for the ordinary Ghanaian concert lover, I guess we have to be smart and borrow from the doctrine of ‘caveat emptor’-buyers beware. If a concert advertisement sounds too good to be true, then it is NOT true.
Another way to escape the scams of some of these event organizers is to consider their previous dealings. If they have done it before, then they will certainly do it again. Treat them with gross suspicion.
It must be mentioned that, concert lovers are not the only ones being taken for granted by some of these event organizers in Ghana. The various artistes whose names and images are falsely being used are also at a great disadvantage.
When will we as ordinary event patrons also win?
Law & Celebrity is a new column on GC which focuses on how the law affects our celebrities, their lifestyles, new media, entertainment, etc.
Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, who will be looking at these issues holds a degree in Law (LLB), Diploma in Para Legal and also has extensive knowledge and interest in celebrity lifestyle & social media.