NBC 5 Responds: Refunds for Concerts and Events Impacted by COVID-19

Some North Texans unhappy with StubHub’s policy

NBCUniversal, Inc.

With sporting events and concerts sidelined by COVID-19, NBC 5 Responds is hearing from fans who want to know if they are entitled to refunds for tickets.

Mike Merar of The Colony purchased two tickets to the Eli Young Band concert at the House of Blues Dallas in March. Not long after, COVID-19 stopped the music.

Merar bought the tickets for $165.46 from third party seller StubHub. When he asked for a refund, Merar said he was instead offered a credit for 120% of the ticket value to be used through December 31, 2021.

“Unfortunately, that’s not something I wanted, needed or had agreed to when I originally purchased my ticket,” Merar told NBC 5 Responds.

Ticketmaster confirms the show is canceled and said it is providing refunds to customers, but StubHub is offering credit.

StubHub published an open letter from the company’s president on its website saying the impact of coronavirus has made offering refunds for canceled events unsustainable due to delays in recouping funds from sellers.

“It’s not my problem that their corporate model exists such that they’re forced to front money while working on refunds,” said Merar. “I’m sorry, but I’m not in the business either of giving them an interest-free loan and, in this case, money without getting any service or benefit in return.”

For sellers, there are also questions.

Tish Franz of Allen said she sold three Buddy Guy tickets to StubHub for $564.30 for a March show at the House of Blues Dallas. The show was rescheduled for August, but Franz said she’s waiting to get paid for the tickets she sold. Typically, sellers are paid a few days after transferring tickets. Now, StubHub says most sellers are getting their money a few days after an event.

Franz said she called customer service to explain she needed the money now.

“She basically told me I wouldn’t get paid until after the concert happens - regardless of how many times its rescheduled,” Franz said.

“This is supposed to be a pleasurable experience - going to concerts and sporting events. Then you deal with these people that just won’t work with you,” added Franz.

The Better Business Bureau said it has processed 178 complaints about StubHub since March. 14 of them in Texas.

A StubHub spokesman tells NBC 5 in a statement, in part, “With the coronavirus impacting so many events and the associated magnitude of challenge in recouping monies owed by sellers over the coming months, it is currently impossible for us to offer immediate cash refunds to all buyers.”

“Ultimately, my message is that they need to do the right thing. Their excuse that it’s tough to manage the time between the buyer and seller is not an acceptable one,” said Merar. The Texas Attorney General’s Office told NBC 5 it is monitoring the situation for potential future investigation. It asks consumers with concerns to file a complaint.

Read the full StubHub statement below:

“StubHub is a global marketplace and our policies vary by region, in line with local guidance. In recent weeks, 50,000+ events have been cancelled, postponed or rescheduled – 40,000 in the US and Canada alone. Given the unprecedented impact the coronavirus has had on the live events industry, we have adapted our policies in the US and Canada while continuing to try to go above and beyond for our customers. 
As a marketplace, we act as an intermediary for buyers and sellers. In normal times, we’ve made the decision to refund buyers before collecting money from the seller to offer buyers more convenience. And under normal circumstances, this works well, even with StubHub taking the risk of timing delays and some losses when we are unable to collect from the seller. With the coronavirus impacting so many events and the associated magnitude of challenge in recouping monies owed by sellers over the coming months, it is currently impossible for us to offer immediate cash refunds to all buyers.  
When the volume of cancellations accelerated a few weeks ago, we were the first in our industry to offer a coupon worth 120% of the ticket value. This is now our default option in Canada and in the US. Outside of the US and Canada, fans are defaulted to a refund. Due to the exceptional circumstances the music and sport industries are currently facing, some refunds may take a little longer than normal to process. We greatly appreciate our community’s patience and understanding during this extraordinary time. You can find our updated policies here.”

NBC 5 Responds is committed to researching your concerns and recovering your money. Our goal is to get you answers and, if possible, solutions and resolution. Call us at 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or fill out our Customer Complaint form.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

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