By Christine Paluf

LOS ANGELES — On March 20th, eight ticket holders with front row seats were prepping for the Rod Stewart Center at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Luckily, they checked their email before they left.

“I just stumbled across the email,” said ticket purchaser Brad Shy. “They must have backdated it to say it came across the day before. But I would have seen it.”

Two-and-a-half hours before the show was to start, a normal drive to downtown Los Angeles even for those living near the Staples Center, ticket holders were sent an email by Ticketmaster saying: “Due to changes associated with the production, the seats you originally purchased are no longer available.”

“We were advised through the production that there was a small group of tickets that were not available,” Staples Center and AEG representative Michael Roth said. “We’re a Ticketmaster site, so every ticket comes off the Ticketmaster system.”

When asked why the change occurred, Roth said, “I have no idea, we were just told it was due to changes in the production.”

Ticket holders, in this case, with front row seats, were told “Due to this change in seating the promoter has provided you with additional full view tickets for the performance. … You may also request a refund by replying to this email by 5:00 pm Pacific on Tuesday, March 20, 2007.”

“It was kinda’ lame,” said Shy, “The tickets they said were no good had people sitting in them.”

“They were given the option of a refund or to consider seats we look at as comparable,” Roth explained. “Others opted for relocation, and were moved to comparable seats. Everyone was moved in the same price category or no more than a couple of rows.”

The email caused confusion for some because of its lack of explanation as to what had happened to the seats.

“It was ambiguous, unclear,” Shy said. “Can I go to these seats? Will they not be there? Can I use these tickets and not get in the building? Would I have a view?”

Another ticket holder who opted for the refund said he was amazed at the immediate and complete return of his money.

“We bought the first row, and were told they wouldn’t work, and they gave back all the service charges, email fees, everything. They have never done that before,” ticket holder Jeff Todt said. “They’ve never given the service charges and handling back, they’ll fight you tooth and nail!”

Roth explained, “That’s something the Staples Center stands behind, and Ticketmaster gives us the ability to do.”

“Seems to me they were double-sold from the promoter, or they were never intended to hit the market,” Todt speculated.

“There aren’t enough details to say exactly what happened,” Roth said.

No response was given by Ticketmaster regarding the ticket cancellations as of press time.

Last Updated on April 5, 2007