If you’re planning on attending any music festivals in the near future, you may want to think twice before selecting the “payment plan” option.
A new lawsuit filed in California alleges that the companies behind big-name music festivals like Coachella and Firefly may be breaking the law when it comes to how they operate their layaway plans.
It works like this: instead of paying up front for the hefty price of admission – which can range up to $899 for one weekend at Coachella – music lovers can make down payments, followed by two or more monthly installments. According to the lawsuit, however, if the purchaser misses a payment for any reason, any money they already paid out is forfeited, along with their tickets.
Take plaintiff Abigail Drake, for example. In May 2014, she bought two tickets and a camping pass for the first weekend of Coachella. The total price of admission and camping came to $850.00. She opted for the layaway plan, which allowed her to make a down payment of $167.00, followed by six additional monthly payments. By October 2014, she had already paid $617.90 toward the festival – and that’s when the credit card she was using became compromised. She received a new credit card from her bank, but her 5th installment toward her Coachella tickets didn’t go through because she had received a new card number. When Drake didn’t receive her tickets, she contacted Coachella management, who then informed her that her payment was rejected. According to the suit, the companies seized the $617.90 that she had paid toward her passes.
What’s worse is that the suit is claiming that the companies are then reselling forfeited tickets. This means that not only are they receiving partial payment from defaulted layaway plans, they’re also profiting when the tickets and camping passes are eventually sold to someone who actually gets to go to the festival.
And Coachella isn’t the only one affected – the suit also cites Stagecoach, First City and Firefly.
The proposed class action alleges that defendants Goldenvoice LLC, Coachella Music Festival, LLC, and Front Gate Tickets Solutions, Inc., a ticket processing company, violated California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law. The lawsuit is seeking to recover lost funds from those who attempted to buy passes or pass combinations (e.g., camping, admittance) through the defendants using the layaway plan option. It also wants the court to order an injunction stopping the companies from seizing payments made on forfeited tickets.
The suit is Abigail Drake v. Goldenvoice LLC et al., case number BC579624, in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles.