Since the coronavirus pandemic began, many events, concerts and other live shows had no choice but to cancel or postpone, leaving fans holding their tickets. In response to this, Ticketmaster revealed a plan last month to offer refunds for all canceled and postponed Live Nation and AEG shows. Ticketmaster’s President Jared Smith put out a response in regards to U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Katie Porter (D-CA) who recently circulated a statement, putting pressure on Ticketmaster to issue full refunds to purchasers.
Ticketmaster’s Jared Smith issued a statement, “Respectfully, Mr. Pascrell and Ms. Porter either misunderstand or elect to misrepresent the realities of our business and refund policies, as we outlined in our April 17 response letter to them. It is entirely disingenuous and flatly wrong to claim that we have “pointed the finger at others. To reiterate, Ticketmaster is a platform that allows event organizers to sell tickets directly to consumers. The fact is, the money we need to refund fans is held by our clients, many of whom are the same independent venues, promoters and arts companies the representatives claim they are trying to help. Our clients are the lifeblood of the industry. They are the employers of the stagehands, performers, box office, concessions and security workers, and the struggling artists whose livelihoods have been decimated by government-mandated shutdowns of our industry across the country.”
Smith further shared, “Ticketmaster is currently offering refunds on 100% of canceled events and has already worked with event organizers to begin offering refunds on more than 80% of the nearly 30,000 events that have been canceled, postponed or rescheduled.”
U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Katie Porter (D-CA) outlined their disappointment in how Ticketmaster is handling their refund process during this pandemic. They shared a full letter in Billboard. Some of the brief points in the letter state, “As lawmakers, we will continue to fight for the small venues, stagehands, performers, struggling artists, and working people hurt by this public health crisis.”
The letter begins with, “The coronavirus pandemic has indefinitely postponed nearly all concerts, sports games, and large group gatherings. Thousands of Americans who purchased tickets for these events are now in a financial limbo: unable to attend and simultaneously unable to secure a refund because of anti-consumer policies at the country’s largest ticket sales company: Ticketmaster.” The letter continues by outlining various points and reiterating the difficult reality Americans now face.
The letter also states, “When we learned of this policy change, we wrote to executives from Ticketmaster, and its parent company, Live Nation, and demanded an explanation. We called on them to stop refusing refunds and to revert to their longstanding policy. Ticketmaster’s characterized the changes to its refund policy as merely providing “clarity” and also pointed the finger at others, saying that its failure to give consumers their money back was the fault of individual event organizers.”
The letter also states, “In regard to Ticketmaster first Ticketmaster’s policy reversal is a welcome start. But the company can and should go further to ensure that every single person is properly notified and able to receive a refund. We ask that Ticketmaster proactively contact consumers about refunds, using the personal data it collects for consumer accounts’ such as cell phone numbers and emails to reach people.”
And further in the letter, “Ticketmaster should give purchasers until one week before the scheduled event date to request a refund. And regardless of event cancellation or delay, any customer who wants a refund should receive it. Anything less than that is unacceptable and could be subject to even more attention from Congress.”