Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced a concent agreement with Ticketmaster that will see the Live Nation Entertainment-owned vendor return $71 million in payments to consumers who purchased tickets to events that were postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The agreement is pending final court approval.
“Consumers who spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars on tickets to live events were left in limbo because of COVID-19,” said Attorney General Brnovich. “While we’re all sensitive to the plight of artists and venues impacted by COVID-19, companies have to honor refund representations. As a result of our investigation, Ticketmaster worked with our office to ensure full refunds for consumers who purchased tickets for Arizona events that didn’t take place as scheduled.”
With live events ground to a halt this spring as government officials clamped down on large gatherings in hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus, Ticketmaster abruptly changed its refund policies. Rather than allowing a refund for any postponed show, suddenly event organizers were allowed to place “limitations” on refunds for events that were postponed or rescheduled. The policy saw fierce backlash, and legal action, with parent company Live Nation announcing an amended policy in late April that restored much of the original consumer rights to request a refund for cancelled and postponed shows.
Issues have continued in some instances, however, such as a recent series of stories related to long waits on refunds for cancelled events at Nassau Coliseum in New York which raised questions of who was on the responsible for making consumers whole.
Brnovich’s office got involved after a number of consumer complaints in the state, sending a letter to the company in late April expressing its concerns, and beginning a negotiation process that led to this week’s announcement.
“Through good-faith negotiations with the AGO, Ticketmaster (working with Event Organizers) authorized $71,030,000 in consumer refunds for 650 Arizona events that were cancelled, postponed, or rescheduled because of COVID-19,” a press release announcing the agreement reads, in part. “At this point, every customer who purchased tickets for an Arizona event should have received an option to obtain a full refund for the event if it was cancelled, rescheduled, or postponed due to COVID-19.”
As part of the consent agreement, Ticketmaster is permanently prohibited from “Making representations that are inconsistent with their purchase policy, including representations regarding the availability of refunds for postponed or rescheduled events” and “failing to disclose the material facts about refund policies for cancelled, postponed, or rescheduled events before consumers purchase their tickets.” It also must “Clearly and conspicuously disclose and display on its website and at the point of purchase Ticketmaster’s purchase policy, including representations regarding the availability and timing of refunds for postponed or rescheduled events.”
Arizona consumers impacted by cancelled or postponed events who have not yet received a refund from Ticketmaster are encouraged to file a consumer complaint with Brnovich’s office to ensure they are made whole. The full consent agreement document is available here: https://www.azag.gov/sites/default/files/docs/press-releases/2020/consent-decree/Ticketmaster%20consent%20agreement.pdf