Consumers who already had beef with Ticketmaster were even more furious after learning the company had quietly modified the language of its refund policy on postponed events.
Previously, the online event ticket seller had said on its website that it refunded tickets for both postponed and canceled events. Now, the website allows buyers to request refunds on postponed performances only if they’re being offered by the event organizers themselves, Digital Music News reported last week. Otherwise, buyers are welcome to try to resell their tickets on the company’s website.
The number of postponed and rescheduled events has skyrocketed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, customers will have to eat most of those costs. Some customers who buy several tickets in advance are out thousands of dollars.
Ticketmaster, owned by Live Nation Entertainment, told The New York Times that the refund policy hasn’t changed, and that the new language was simply a clarification of the way it’s always been.
But the company’s website clearly used to promise refunds for events that had been “postponed, rescheduled or canceled.”
Now, the adjusted language on the site says, “As always, canceled events are automatically refunded. If an event organizer is offering refunds for postponed or rescheduled events, a refund link will appear on your Ticketmaster account.”
Otherwise, “if your event was postponed or rescheduled and you are unable to attend (and resale is enabled for your event), you can sell your tickets to other fans” on the Ticketmaster site.
StubHub, another ticket exchange and resale company, said it has a similar policy.
“If the event is postponed, ticket buyers can choose to either attend the event on the new date or resell the ticket,” StubHub said late last month in a statement to USA Today concerning sports events. If an event is canceled, customers will be reimbursed by StubHub, the company said.
But on April 2, a Wisconsin customer filed a class action lawsuit against StubHub for offering vouchers for future purchases instead of cash refunds for cancellations. The suit claims that the company has “sought to surreptitiously shift their losses onto their innocent customers, furthering the financial hardship endured by people across the country.”
Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) blasted Ticketmaster on Monday, accusing the ticket seller of providing “the worst customer service in any industry.” The company demands “exorbitant ticket fees for negligible benefits” and is “now taking advantage of a crisis to line their pockets,” she tweeted.
Customers also shared their fury on Twitter: