Brown Paper Tickets, a Seattle-based primary ticketing vendor, has been sued by Washington’s attorney general over allegations the company owes nearly $7 million to artist and venue clients and ticket buyers amid the rash of pandemic event cancellations.
According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit was filed Wednesday of last week by Attorney General Bob Ferguson. It alleges that Brown Paper Tickets owed $6 million to event producers and $760,000 in refunds to consumers who bought tickets to events that were subsequently cancelled due to government restrictions on live events due to COVID-19. Ferguson’s office asks that the court order restitution payments for all of the funds in question, as well as fines of up to $2,000 for every violation of the state’s consumer protection statutes.
“The State alleges that Brown Paper Tickets engaged in unfair or deceptive acts or practices in violation of the Consumer Protection Act,” the state’s complaint says. “Brown Paper Tickets had failed to remit payment to event organizers for events that took place and has failed to provide refunds to ticket buyers who purchased tickets for cancelled or rescheduled events.”
Brown Paper Tickets President William Jordan said in March the company had lost control of its cash flow and had to shut down outgoing payments to everyone.
“We lost control over which payments were able to clear and which weren’t,” Jordan said. “And we managed to piss off everybody.”
The state says it has received more than 600 consumer complaints regarding Brown Paper Tickets. The company has also seen 16 separate lawsuits filed against it by event producers and consumers over the failure to provide refunds or payments owed.