The Avalanche offered her money back. Looks like her refund request got buried

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By Christopher Elliott

Sara DeGroot’s Colorado Avalanche game is canceled at the start of the pandemic. The organizer promises her a refund but then switches to a credit. Can it do that?

Question

In February 2020, I bought tickets to a Colorado Avalanche game for March. Well, then the pandemic hit, and they canceled the game.  

In May 2020, the Avalanche (Kroenke Sports and Entertainment) sent us an email saying we could request a refund. I promptly requested my refund and then waited. It’s now been more than a year and I have exchanged several emails with Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, and they have reneged on their refund offer, saying that the billionaire owner of the team can’t afford to give us the refund the team promised.  

Now they are offering tickets to a game for this season, but they can’t tell us what the COVID protocols will be, or if there will be any at all. The three of us who were supposed to attend the game are considered high risk, and even after being vaccinated, do not feel safe attending a game, particularly when no vaccines or masking will be enforced

Can you help me obtain a refund of $207? — Sara DeGroot, Superior, Colo.

Answer

If the Colorado Avalanche offered you a refund, why didn’t you get one? I reviewed the paper trail between you and the team — nice work keeping all the information, by the way. In an email to you, the team said, “We are aware that Groupmatics is having difficulty processing your refund and has informed you that they may not be able to issue any refund to you at all.” 

It looks like Groupmatics, which handles digital event tickets, was having some unnamed problem processing the refund the Colorado Avalanche promised you.

It continues, “While this is not the news you wanted to hear, the Colorado Avalanche values your past and future support and we would like to offer you the opportunity to claim complimentary tickets in the same quantity as your Groupmatics purchase.”

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Hmm, that doesn’t make sense. “Complimentary” means that you didn’t pay for them. But you did pay for these tickets. It would be more accurate to say the Avalanche is offering you seats for a future game, which is what you said they offered. (Related: Can I get my deposit back from Aurora Expeditions? They’ve had my money almost two years.)

Kroenke Sports and Entertainment refunded the amount of $207

You didn’t accept the ticket credit, taking up your case with managers at Kroenke Sports and Entertainment. It looks as if you got through to someone at a fairly high level (although I haven’t yet published the names and numbers of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment’s executives on my consumer advocacy site Elliott.org, here’s a little tip: The executives use the domain name @teamkse.com for their emails, rather than ksedenvervenues.com).

Here’s the bottom line: If you buy tickets to a game and they cancel it, you deserve a refund. You might be able to lean on your credit card company for a dispute under the Fair Credit Billing Act. The event didn’t happen, which means the law protects you. (Here’s how to find the best hotel at the most affordable rate.)

A sports team may offer tickets to a future game, but you don’t have to accept them. And I’m not buying the excuse that a third party was “having difficulty” processing refunds. 

I contacted Kroenke Sports and Entertainment on your behalf. It refunded the $207 you paid for 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. He is based in Panamá City.

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