Ticket Buyers Sue Over Ticketmaster’s Refund Policy Change
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are being felt across the world and, it seems, in almost every aspect of life. Grocery stores are experiencing shortages of certain products, video conferencing software is seeing an unprecedented boom, preparations for funeral services have taken on a new level of intensity, and nearly every live event has been indefinitely postponed or canceled altogether. The fallout from COVID-19 seems to have no end. One of the unexpected results of coronavirus that has been making headlines recently has to due with the latter: the canceling of events. Live events that have been canceled or postponed have led many people to seek refunds for the tickets they have purchased, but there have been complications to this otherwise straightforward process.
Ticketmaster, one of the largest ticket vending companies in the world, has recently come under fire for its controversial policies (or rather change to policies) regarding refunds during this difficult quarantine. As a result, lawsuits have been filed against the ticket vending giant because of complaints that Ticketmaster retroactively changed their refund policies amid the pandemic to prevent consumers from getting their money back. Those who have been affected have called this a violation of their rights as consumers.
Ticketmaster Refund Policy Class Action Lawsuit
The lead plaintiff of this legal effort is a past customer of Ticketmaster named Derek Hansen who alleges that the ticket vending company purposely changed their refund policies in reaction to COVID-19 quarantine in order to prevent as many consumers as possible from getting their money back.
Ticketmaster’s new policy only allows for people to refund their tickets if the event they were purchased for is canceled but not if they were indefinitely postponed. For many events, that is the case.
Ticketmaster Refund Policy Causes Consumer Damage
For some, this is not a problem since their event was canceled outright, but many consumers have not been so fortunate and are now stuck with expensive tickets to events that will likely not occur, will not occur within a timely manner, or will not fit their schedule. It is projected that major concerts and live events will not start back up again until late 2021, possibly as late as Fall.
Joe Berchtold, the president of Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation, stated that 90 percent of events are postponed rather than canceled.
Derek Hansen, the lead plaintiff involved in this class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster, claims to have tickets to see a rock band that cost him nearly $600. The concert has been indefinitely postponed and will likely not occur this year.
Mr. Hansen, and many like him, have their money tied up in these tickets when they would prefer to have refunds considering how many people are currently struggling in an economy hit hard by the COVID-19 virus.
Why the Ticketmaster Refund Policy is Controversial
If Ticketmaster’s refund policy would have stated that postponed event tickets were not refundable at the time of purchasing, many would be more understanding. However, the lawsuit against Ticketmaster focuses on their efforts to retroactively change their policy.
At the time of purchasing their tickets, many consumers were under the impression that they would be able to receive refunds for a number of reasons ranging from event cancellations to inevitable postponement. Unfortunately, Ticketmaster included what the lawsuit describes as “unconscionable provisions” that purportedly allow the companies to change the terms at any time and “bind” all users to the new agreement.
The lawsuit states: “Prior to the coronavirus outbreak and at the time that [the plaintiffs] purchased event tickets from Ticketmaster…[they] assured customers that Ticketmaster would refund ticket purchase prices ‘if your event is postponed, rescheduled or canceled.’ After the coronavirus outbreak forced the cancelation or postponement of most large events and public gatherings, Ticketmaster retroactively revised its policies applicable to the prior ticket sales to allow for refunds only for canceled events, not postponed or rescheduled ones, including when postponed events are ‘indefinitely’ postponed.
One see can clearly see why people like Derek and others are frustrated with this change.
Ticketmaster’s Unlawful Changing of Policy
However, consumers have the right to take legal action against businesses that they believe have gone back on their word in regard to what they promise at the time of purchase. This class-action lawsuit aims to provide people who have purchased tickets from Ticketmaster for an event that was postponed or rescheduled to any time after March 14, 2020, an opportunity to seek restitution and injunctive relief for the damages that these policies have caused them.
Ticketmaster Adjusts Ticket Policy
Following the massive outcry against their questionable refund policy changes, Ticketmaster has changed its policy once again to allow ticket buyers the opportunity to seek refunds for events that have been postponed. Live Nation implemented the Rock When You Are Ready program which offers the choice between a 150% credit towards future live events or a full refund for postponed events. It should be noted that the refunds once again come with a catch.
Full refunds are only available for those whose postponed events have been rescheduled (of course, most have not) which leaves the matter of refunds to the organizers of the event rather than Ticketmaster. This loophole still leaves many people unable to access refunds with Ticketmaster still holding on to their money.
Additional Ticket Refund Controversy
In addition to Ticketmaster’s recent controversy regarding refunds during this pandemic, other ticket companies and event organizing companies have also seen an outcry from consumers. Stubhub, which is a ticket resale site, has seen a similar lawsuit over breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation filed by consumers. Live Nation and Ticketmaster have also been sued by MLB fans who were denied refunds for tickets to baseball games that have been postponed because of COVID-19 quarantine.
Seek an Experienced Florida Consumer Rights Attorney
If you have purchased tickets for an event through Ticketmaster and have been unable to get refund because of their policy changes, you may be entitled to take legal action via a class action lawsuit.
Dolman Law Group can provide you with the experience, knowledge, and resources that you will need to ensure that the legal action you take is successful. Violation of consumer rights is an issue that is becoming more prevalent in this time where quarantine has led to exploitation by some. Dolman Law Group is passionate about assisting those affected by unlawful business practices and will work with you to bring a class action lawsuit that can recover financial relief after you have been exploited by these businesses.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765