Major League Baseball and its ticketing partners, including Ticketmaster and StubHub, have been hit with a lawsuit regarding ticket refunds as the season remains delayed. The suit was filed Monday with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles and alleges violations of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law as well as civil conspiracy.
New Yorkers Matthew Ajzenman and Susan Terry-Bazer are behind the lawsuit targeting the MLB’s 30 clubs, Live Nation, Ticketmaster, StubHub and Last Minute Transactions. Ajzenman purchased a Mets partial season ticket package while Terry-Bazer bought six tickets for the May 9 Red Sox-Yankees battle in the Bronx. The purchases cost $1,730 and $926, respectively, via USA Today. Both fans are calling on the involved parties to issue full refunds for their purchases given the status of the season.
“As stadiums remain empty for the foreseeable future, baseball fans are stuck with expensive and unusable tickets for unplayable games in the midst of this economic crisis,” the lawsuit said. “Under the pretext of `postponing’ games, at the directive of MLB, teams and ticket merchants are refusing to issue refunds for games which are not going to be played as scheduled — if ever.”
“While many businesses across this country have acted lawfully and ethically by providing consumers with refunds for events that will never occur during this pandemic, sometimes at the risk of bankruptcy, it remains notable that America’s pastime — baseball — is refusing to do right by its fans.”
The lawsuit echoes the complaints thrown at Ticketmaster and StubHub over concert ticket refunds. Both companies changed their policies in ways that fans deemed unfair, with StubHub pivoting to voucher-only credits rather than cash refunds, which resulted in a fan lawsuit as well. Ticketmaster caught the ire of consumers and lawmakers by changing its policy to only issue refunds for cancelled events rather than postponed or rescheduled ones. After drawing severe backlash, parent company Live Nation announced a revised refund program which includes postponed shows.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and other officials have maintained that baseball will be back, though insiders report it is unlikely nationwide ballparks will be used this season. Dr. Anthony Fauci recommended that the league could begin its operations this summer if there is sufficient virus testing supply and players are contained in one playing environment without fans. That scenario could come to fruition in Arizona ballparks, per reports.
The league is yet to comment on the lawsuit.