Ticketmaster Accused of Unfairly Sitting on Millions of Dollars in Refunds

Many would-be concertgoers say they’re furious: “They’re leaving us high and dry"

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Music fans may not be seeing their favorite bands, or the money they spent on tickets, anytime soon.

That’s because the coronavirus forced thousands of live events to be postponed. And just when they need cash most, customers who bought tickets from Ticketmaster say the company is making it difficult to get a refund.

The Beverly Hills-based online ticket seller is getting heat for its murky refund policy where it tells ticket holders of postponed events that refunds are not its call. Instead, the company says event organizers must first make a decision about re-scheduling.

While they wait, infuriated customers accuse the company of sitting on their much-needed cash.

“They're leaving us high and dry,” Abby Dixon said. “They're essentially not offering refunds unless the band announces a cancellation, or postponement so we're basically in limbo. I can't get my money back.”

Matthew Fitzinger in Skokie said he wants to know why the ticket retailer is allowed to "hang on to $2,500 of our money for months and months?"

"Not when it's a global pandemic and everybody's out of work, and, you know, people need that money," he said.

The National Consumers League is among those telling Ticketmaster its policy to punt on refunds is doing actual harm.

“We think that that's wrong,” John Breyault said. “We think that time, and millions of consumers are trying to do things like pay the rent keep the lights on, that it's unconscionable for a company like Ticketmaster to hold on to that money.

Refunds are also at the center of a proposed class action lawsuit filed in California. The suit alleges Ticketmaster used to allow refunds if an event is postponed, rescheduled or canceled. But once the virus took hold, the company is accused of quietly changing its policy to cover only canceled events.

Ticketmaster told NBC 5 Responds it doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

After our call to the company, the Fitzingers did get $1,300 back, a part of their refund.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Ticketmaster said the company is incredibly sensitive to the hardships that fans are facing, which is why it has been working so diligently to ensure fans have every option made available to them as quickly as possible.

Of the 30,000 shows that have been canceled, postponed and rescheduled due to COVID-19, Ticketmaster said more than 80% of them now have refunds available, and 90% of fans who have had refund options presented to them have elected to hold onto their tickets for the rescheduled event date.

For more information, Ticketmaster points to this letter from its president to Billboard.com. For updated info from Ticketmaster on event information, refunds and options, click here.

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