Can I get a refund for this rescheduled show from Vivid Seats?

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By Christopher Elliott

When Douglas Himberger buys tickets on Vivid Seats to a Jerry Seinfeld show, he never imagines that the comedian would reschedule his performance three times because of the pandemic. Can he get a refund?

Question

I paid $689 for two seats to a Jerry Seinfeld show in Atlantic City through Vivid Seats in 2020. The show was originally scheduled for April, but because of the pandemic, they rescheduled for August and finally July 2021. That’s over 18 months after we bought the tickets!  

I had planned to travel to Atlantic City in July 2020, but a couple of days before, I learned from the venue that they had canceled the show.  The hotel gave me a refund for our room even though it was too close to the show date. But I could not contact anyone at Vivid Seats.  

I tried emailing and calling. There was absolutely no way to talk to a human. I couldn’t even find out if they offered a credit or refund.

I checked Elliott Advocacy for executive contacts but couldn’t find any. My next step wasn’t what you advised, but I went to Discover for relief by filing a credit card dispute. After all, Vivid Seats didn’t deliver any product and charged us nearly $700.  

Almost six months later, in December 2021, Discover found that the Vivid Seats charge was valid. The dispute resolution amounted to Discover asking Vivid Seats for details and Vivid Seats sending them a copy of the credit card transaction.

Vivid Seats then sent me an email saying we had a credit (something they had never said in all those months). While a credit would seem reasonable under normal circumstances, I feel we should receive a refund.  It’s been two years, and it’s not clear that we will be able to use the credit in 2022 because of the continuing pandemic. Can you help? — Douglas Himberger, Palmyra, VA

Answer

I think Vivid Seats should have offered a full refund after Seinfeld canceled his first show. 

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But that’s not what the terms of your purchase say. To get a refund, your show must be canceled, and Vivid Seats gets to determine if something is canceled. If it’s just postponed or rescheduled, tickets “will not be refunded or otherwise compensated by Vivid Seats except in jurisdictions where it is required by law.” So you have to live in California to get your money back.

By the way, these were the terms of your purchase when you bought your tickets. The company didn’t update them to make it harder to get a refund. I’ve written about some operators who did that during the pandemic, which is the worst kind of customer disservice. Vivid Seats was just following its rules.

I’m unhappy about the way the company and other ticket sellers have been handling their pandemic events. I’ve written several stories about artists who kept postponing their shows, hoping to keep the ticket money. Ticket sellers and venues were often their accomplices. They played word games, saying they were simply “rescheduling” their performances. In fact, they were canceling their shows and then scheduling new ones, but forcing everyone to attend the new show even if it wasn’t convenient or they didn’t feel safe. (Related: He ordered three tickets from Vivid Seats but only got two.)

Under these circumstances, I think a credit card dispute is absolutely fine. Vivid Seats sold you a show on a specific day, but Seinfeld postponed the show several times. That’s not funny. Discover should have advocated for you instead of rolling over. (Here’s our guide to winning a credit card dispute.)

I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Vivid Seats executives on my nonprofit consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org.

My advocacy team and I contacted Vivid Seats on your behalf. The company reviewed your repeatedly postponed show and agreed to refund your tickets.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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