Changes in Ticket Company's Refund Policy Under Fire

The online ticket broker StubHub has changed its refund policy amid the pandemic, leaving many customers upset.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Melissa Pelaez-Nava says it wasn’t a hard decision to buy concert tickets to see Elton John at the American Airlines Arena.

“I purchased the tickets as a gift for my mom and her husband for Christmas,” Pelaez-Nava told NBC 6 Responds.

She bought the tickets before the pandemic using online ticket broker StubHub. The tickets for the May 2020 concert cost nearly $500.

But when the pandemic prevented that concert from happening, she called StubHub for a refund.

“Early June, I started reaching out again saying ‘the concert date passed, I still haven’t heard about any new dates, could I finally get the refund?’ They kindly told me no,” Pelaez-Nava said.

It’s a refund Pelaez-Nava may never get because the concert was rescheduled for April 2022.

Under StubHub’s refund policy, tickets will remain valid for rescheduled dates.

In a statement, a StubHub’s spokesperson told NBC 6 Responds, “The StubHub customer service team is on hand to help ticketholders list their tickets for resale if for any reason they can’t attend the event on the rescheduled date.”

Pelaez-Nava says the policy is unfair.

“It is gonna be very difficult in my position to sell tickets for a concert that is not happening until 2022,” Pelaez-Nava said.

StubHub’s new refund policy in the U.S. and Canada has come under scrutiny since the company announced changes early in the pandemic.

For canceled events, instead of refunds, the company defaulted to offering credits worth 120% of the customers’ original order.

Since the policy change, lawsuits have been filed against the company along with consumer complaints.

Florida’s Attorney General’s Office has received 17 refund-related StubHub complaints since the beginning of the pandemic. A spokesperson from the AG’s office told us their office escalated all of the complaints to StubHub and so far $690 has been refunded to consumers for canceled events.

In a statement online, the company said, “As a convenience to buyers, acting as an intermediary, we’ve historically made the decision to refund them for canceled events before collecting money from the sellers. We’ve also historically offered sellers more convenience by paying them for ticket sales on our platform before events actually happen. Under normal circumstances, these processes are manageable. Given the impact of the coronavirus, it is not possible to sustain this practice in the near-term...At the same time, buyers expect immediate refunds. As a result, we’ve enacted new policies in the U.S. and Canada that we believe are clear and fan-first.”

“Some people don’t even have their jobs anymore so they need that cash, they need groceries, the light bill, things that are important,” Pelaez-Nava said.

With the concert two years away, Pelaez-Nava says she is now weighing the few options she has left.

“They put me in a very difficult predicament, almost impossible, to the point where I just have to deal with it and hold onto my tickets while they hold onto my money,” Pelaez-Nava said.

We reached out to StubHub regarding the recent lawsuits and complaints filed against the company, a spokesperson told us “Per company policy, we don’t comment on active litigation.”

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