Amid a wave of intense backlash for its pandemic-era refund policy, Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation Entertainment were hit with a class action lawsuit. Consumer Derek Hansen filed the suit with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging the companies used false advertising and breach of contract by quietly changing their refund policy to exclude postponed shows.
Hansen, a San Francisco native, purchased nearly $600 worth of Rage Against the Machine concerts originally scheduled for this month. Amid the current pandemic, those shows have been postponed indefinitely. He is now going after Ticketmaster and Live Nation for a full refund in retaliation against the policy.
“Plaintiff now holds four tickets to two RATM concerts that have been effectively canceled, will almost certainly be canceled, and which he bought with a guarantee of a monetary refund for cancellation,” the lawsuit says. “But under defendants’ new, post-hoc policy revisions, he will only be provided a refund if, and when, the events are officially canceled rather than ‘postponed.'”
The ticketing giants were hit with severe criticism of the policy from both consumers and lawmakers alike. U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell and Katie Porter wrote a scathing letter to Live Nation and Ticketmaster executives urging them to reverse the policy deemed “reprehensible” as millions face pandemic-related financial burdens. Canadian lawmakers also called for an investigation into the policy that was quietly changed.
Upon the public outcry, Live Nation announced a new refund policy which would cover postponed events. It mirrors the policy rolled out by AEG Presents, giving consumers a 30-day window from when rescheduled dates are announced to request a full refund. Hansen happened to file the lawsuit Friday, April 17, the same day the Ticketmaster policy was revised. Nonetheless, Hansen’s lawyers maintain there are loopholes that need to be addressed for consumers.
“We remain concerned that for rescheduled events Ticketmaster is still leaving the refund decision to the organizers of each event,” said Marie McCrary, who represents Hansen with Gutride Safier LLP. “In addition, when events are ‘postponed indefinitely’ without any new date set, refunds are being denied. Ticketmaster needs to offer refunds for all such events.”
Resale site StubHub was hit with a similar consumer lawsuit last month regarding their change in refund policy. Additionally, Live Nation and Ticketmaster were sued by New York baseball fans demanding refunds for spring MLB games that are unable to be played amid the season’s delay.