April 23, 2020 – Live Nation, Ticketmaster Hit with Another Class Action Over Refund Refusals
Live Nation and subsidiary Ticketmaster have been hit with another proposed class action lawsuit over their apparent failure to issue refunds for events canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The suit, filed in Illinois federal court, looks to represent consumers nationwide who bought tickets to events Live Nation and Ticketmaster has “postponed” indefinitely, allegedly as a means to “keep their customers’ money as a form of interest-free loan.” According to the case, Live Nation and Ticketmaster have “quietly sought to force their buyers to endure the financial losses” the companies created for themselves in the “entirely foreseeable scenario” that world events would cause the simultaneous cancellation of a number of public events.
Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc. and Live Nation Entertainment Co. have joined the ranks of companies facing lawsuits for allegedly refusing to issue refunds after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the lives of millions of Americans.
According to a proposed class action out of California federal court, online ticket seller Ticketmaster and concert promoter Live Nation have retroactively changed their refund policy to only allow refunds for canceled events—not those that have been “indefinitely postponed” or rescheduled.
The plaintiff, who says he’s been left holding four tickets to two Rage Against the Machine concerts that “will almost certainly be cancelled,” claims he and other ticket buyers have unfairly been forced to bear the financial toll that COVID-19 has taken on the entertainment industry.
“Defendants have quietly sought to force their buyers to endure the financial losses that Defendants would suffer in the entirely foreseeable scenario that world occurrences would cause the simultaneous cancellation of numerous public events,” the complaint reads.
The lawsuit looks to force Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster, to reverse the “unlawful” changes to their refund policy and to offer refunds for all postponed or rescheduled events.
Ticketmaster’s Refund Policy
According to the 22-page lawsuit, Ticketmaster until March 13, 2020 used to allow refunds “if your event is postponed, rescheduled or canceled.”
The plaintiff claims he and other online ticket buyers relied on this policy when deciding whether to pay “premium prices” for event tickets, noting that the availability of refunds is a “major component” of Ticketmaster’s value.
In other words, the case says, Ticketmaster and Live Nation will not issue refunds for events that are now “indefinitely” postponed or have been rescheduled to a to-be-determined date.
For context, the lawsuit states that Live Nation’s president, Joe Berchtold, recently told CNBC in an interview that “about 90% of Ticketmaster’s events are postponed.” As of the date the complaint was filed, roughly 30,000 events have already been postponed, with recent estimates suggesting that live events will not be available until Fall 2021 at the earliest, according to the suit.
The plaintiff says he spent $590 on four tickets to two Rage Against the Machine concerts that have now been “effectively cancelled.” Under the defendants’ new “post-hoc” policy revisions, he will be left without any relief until the events are officially canceled instead of “postponed,” the lawsuit states.
Didn’t Ticketmaster Say Refunds for Postponed Events Will Now Be Available?
[Note: This section has been updated to reflect clarifications to Live Nation’s new refund policy that were announced after the blog was originally published.]
Yes, with some restrictions. After facing criticism from fans and two lawmakers, Live Nation rolled out its Ticket Refund Plan, an updated policy that allows ticket buyers to receive refunds for both canceled and rescheduled events.
Under the plan, if your event has been rescheduled, you can request a refund within 30 days of the new date being announced. If 60 days pass after an event has been postponed and no new dates have been announced, ticket holders can then claim refunds within a 30-day window.
For events that have been canceled, ticket holders will automatically receive a refund. Additionally, Live Nation is offering an opportunity to “maximize your refund” for tickets to canceled events at Live Nation-owned venues. Instead of a refund, ticket holders can choose a 150-percent credit to use toward buying future tickets, and for each ticket originally purchased, Live Nation will donate one ticket to healthcare workers through its Hero Nation program.
When the new plan was first announced, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys said she was “pleased” with the improved policy but expressed concerns that the refund decisions have been left to the event organizers.
Who Does the Lawsuit Look to Cover?
The case looks to cover anyone who purchased tickets from Ticketmaster for an event that was postponed or rescheduled to any time after March 14, 2020.
How Do I Join the Lawsuit?
In general, there’s no action you need to take to join a lawsuit. Typically, those affected by a class action will be given an opportunity to claim their piece of a settlement if and when one is reached.
Until then, keep up with ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation here and over on our Newswire.