Eventbrite, Inc. has refused to issue refunds for tickets to events canceled, postponed, or rescheduled amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a proposed class action alleges.
According to the lawsuit, Eventbrite assured customers that refunds would be issued in accordance with California’s Business and Professions Code, which states that the “ticket price of any event which is canceled, postponed, or rescheduled shall be fully refunded to the purchaser by the ticket seller upon request.” Despite the company’s representations and legal obligations, however, Eventbrite has “consistently refused to allow for refunds” for canceled, postponed, or rescheduled events, even when an event is postponed indefinitely, the lawsuit alleges.
Instead, Eventbrite has attempted to shift its responsibility onto event organizers, allowing the entities to refuse refunds, the case claims. The lawsuit argues that Eventbrite’s “minimum requirements” for event organizers at best only encourage the entities to “make good” when an event is canceled, or the advertised goods and services are otherwise not provided.
The suit claims Eventbrite’s minimum requirements fail to comply with California law even when adhered to. As the case tells it, when an event is canceled or postponed/rescheduled, Eventbrite “feebly suggests” that customers contact its “customer experience team.” In all, Eventbrite’s requirement that event organizers “make good” when an event is canceled “is meaningless nonsense, which frustrates the entire policy,” the suit scathes, adding that the requirement applies only to canceled events, and not those that have been rescheduled or postponed.
According to the suit, Eventbrite posted a more specific refund policy following the COVID-19 outbreak that fails to even meet the ticket seller’s previous minimum refund requirements, let alone California law. In essence, the case says, the policy merely refers customers to event organizers in order to “see what options are available.”
In the revised policy, the defendant specified that if an event organizer is unable to offer a refund “or an experience of similar value,” customers can submit a refund request to Eventbrite only if:
The event is canceled;
The event was scheduled to take place between March 15 and June 15, 2020;
The tickets were purchased before March 15, 2020; and
It has been less than 45 days since the event was canceled.
In other words, the case argues, Eventbrite has imposed “unlawful limitations” on refunds for canceled events, allowing event organizers to instead offer customers “an experience of similar value,” such as future credit, “no matter when in the future the event might occur or how much or when the credit might apply.”
The lawsuit goes on to challenge the deadlines set by the defendant, arguing that “there is no rationale” regarding the date of purchase or the event date requirements. The complaint takes further issue with the fact that Eventbrite’s policy does not allow refunds for any events that have been postponed or rescheduled.
Further still, Eventbrite’s policy on refunds for fees is “unclear and misleading,” according to the complaint, as the defendant states in separate places on its website that fees will not be refunded yet claims elsewhere that refunds will be issued for the “entire purchase,” including fees. Nevertheless, Eventbrite has refused to refund both ticket prices and fees for postponed or rescheduled events, the case claims.
The lawsuit, which echoes similar suits filed against Ticketmaster, StubHub, and Vivid Seats amid the COVID-19 pandemic, claims Eventbrite has attempted to shift the cost of the outbreak onto customers by refusing to provide refunds. From the complaint:
“Defendant has quietly sought to force its buyers to endure the financial losses that Defendant would suffer in the entirely foreseeable scenario that world occurrences would cause the simultaneous cancellation and/or postponement of numerous public events.”
The lawsuit looks to cover anyone who, since June 3, 2016, purchased tickets from Eventbrite (that were not for resale) to any event that was canceled, postponed, or rescheduled and was not provided an opportunity to obtain a full refund. A subclass of California residents has also been proposed.
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.