A consumer filed a federal lawsuit in California against Vivid Seats, alleging the ticket resale marketplace engaged in “deceptive advertising and business practices” related to tickets for events that were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The plaintiff, Bruce Brouillette, is pushing for class action status in the litigation, which was filed in California’s Central District.

A spokesperson for Vivid Seats declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing its policy for not commenting on pending litigation.

At the center of the lawsuit is the marketing of Vivid Seats “100% Guarantee” related to tickets purchased on its marketplace. According to the complaint filed November 5, Brouillette purchased tickets to a Rolling Stones concert scheduled for May 8, 2020 on March 1, at a price of more than $1,600. Less than three weeks later, the Rolling Stones announced that they would be postponing their tour due to the coronavirus pandemic, with reschedule dates to be determined. After attempts to secure a refund by contacting Vivid Seats, Brouillette attempted to recoup his funds through his credit card company, but that attempt failed as well, leaving him out the full value paid despite the uncertain nature of the return of live events and the show in particular.

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“As a consequence of [Vivid Seats] unfair and deceptive advertising and manufacturing practices, Plaintiff and other consumers similarly situated purchased and overpaid to use Defendant’s platform under the false impression that the tickets were backed by a “100% Buyer Guarantee” that would allow purchasers to get a full cash refund if there is a cancellation without a reschedule,” the complaint reads, in part.

The lawsuit hopes to see certification as a class-action due to its contention that there must be thousands or more similarly situated consumers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent halt on most live events, particularly arena concerts. It argues that the actions taken by Vivid Seats violate California Consumers Legal Remedies Act (Civil Code 1750), California’s False Advertising Law (Business & Professional Code 17500), California’s Unfair Competition Law (B&P Code 17200) and Intentional, Negligent Misrepresentation statutes. It seeks disgorgement of any gains determined to be a part of the alleged unlawful activities described in the lawsuit, as well as injunctive relief in the form of the halting of what it characterizes as misleading and deceptive practices.

Numerous lawsuits have already been filed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. StubHub was targeted for changing its refund policies after the onset of the halt of events, as was Ticketmaster.

The lawsuit complaint document is attached (PDF opens in new tab))