This year’s nearly sold-out Boston Comic Con was set to feature stars like Chris Evans, Tom Hiddleston, and Chris Hemsworth. However, right before the event kicked-off on March 20, the Con was cancelled due to concerns over the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Pop culture fans quickly sought refunds, but were met with a message from promoter Ace Universe, which noted that the Con’s ticketing service and management software GrowTix “stole millions of dollars” in customer refunds. In a lawsuit, ACE says the company gave GrowTix $680,000 to facilitate refunds, only to find out that the refund plan would no longer work. Subsequently, ACE is suing for breach of contract and fraud.
ACE released a statement on social media this week, noting that while the company can’t comment on active litigation, “we will continue to maintain our steadfast commitment to the fans and always have their backs.”
“Regarding refunds to ACE Northeast, General Admission tickets have already begun being refunded from the Universe without concern, and those will continue to process as planned in their entirety over the next couple of weeks,” ACE said. “ACE is working diligently to ensure that every one of its customers gets a full refund in the wake of the event’s shutdown by the government due to the coronavirus. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.”
GrowTix released a statement of its own this week, fighting back against the lawsuit. In the statement, the ticker said that ACE’s lawsuit does not reflect the two companies’ relationship, nor show the steps GrowTix took to help ticketholders receive refunds for the cancelled events. The company says “we intend to defend vigorously against this meritless and frivolous lawsuit.”
“As a service provider, Growtix facilitated the transactions for over $2.9 million in sales for ACE Universe, with all of the money due to ACE under the contract transferred to ACE as part of the services agreement between the two companies,” GrowTix said in a statement to TicketNews. “When the event was cancelled, ACE was responsible for returning that $2.9 million+ they were paid to the fans. Growtix is the transaction processor to make this happen, not the bank for ACE, and thus needed ACE to return the money originally sent to them to Growtix in order to pay the refunds.
“ACE refused to do this (which they are obligated to do under the contract), and as permitted by the contract between them, Growtix attempted to access the funds to cover the refunds to the fans, who expected and deserved this to occur in the 30-day window promised by ACE.”
Earlier this week, we released a story regarding the lawsuit which was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter. GrowTix said that THR’s article regarding the cancellation and actions by GrowTix is “a plainly inaccurate account of events and a misrepresentation of the obligations and actions of both GrowTix and ACE Universe.”