Why won’t Ticketmaster refund this concert ticket? I want my money back!

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Christopher Elliott

Linda Popky wants Ticketmaster to refund her concert ticket after the show is repeatedly rescheduled. But Ticketmaster won’t give back her money. Can we help?

Question

In October 2019, I bought tickets for the Eagles at the Chase Center in San Francisco for an April 2020 concert. Obviously, that didn’t happen. The show was rescheduled for this spring and then again for Oct. 22, 2021.

That seemed fine, but then we were hit by the delta variant. My daughter, who is to accompany me to the concert, is high-risk because of a number of chronic medical issues. She and I are both vaccinated, but our doctor has recommended that we remain vigilant and avoid higher-risk situations – like being close to several thousand people inside the Chase Center. So we asked Ticketmaster to give us a refund.

Yes, San Francisco requires all attendees to be vaccinated, but this is still too many people in too close quarters to be safe. Even vaccinated people are having breakthrough infections, and with her pre-existing conditions, this could be extremely dangerous.
When I requested a refund from Ticketmaster, I got a recorded message that it was past the allowable refund period. In normal times, this makes sense. Given this situation and COVID, it does not.

I’ve tried emailing and phoning Ticketmaster support on this issue, and I get a recorded message that says, “We’re busy and can’t help you.” I waited several weeks after filling out a web form for a response, but all I got back was an automated form that didn’t address my situation.

We love the Eagles, but it’s not worth risking her health to see this concert. Can you help me get a refund from Ticketmaster, please? — Linda Popky, Redwood City, Calif.

Answer

You should be able to get a refund from Ticketmaster, but not for the reasons you think. You purchased tickets for an April 2020 concert, which didn’t happen. Ticketmaster should have offered a choice between a full refund and a rescheduled show. It never met the obligations of your first ticket purchase.

I’m also an Eagles fan and would have gladly waited for the rescheduled show. But I’d never attend a concert if it put a loved one’s health in peril.

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Ticketmaster’s COVID policy is clear: Every time one of your Eagles concerts flew to a new date, it would let you choose between a refund and tickets for the new show. It looks like you agreed to the new show dates the first time, but it isn’t clear how you ended up with the second set of tickets for the Oct. 22 show. You say you don’t recall receiving an offer for the second date.

If you can’t safely attend a concert, you shouldn’t have to forfeit your tickets. But the current Ticketmaster policy doesn’t appear to have any provisions for customers’ health, even though it should. Why doesn’t it? I can’t tell you why.

The good news: Ticketmaster will refund your ticket

It looks like you were thinking of doing a credit card dispute as a last resort. That might have worked, but it could have also been a “heartache tonight,” as the Eagles might say.

Under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), the law that protects credit card customers, you can dispute purchases for products or services you ordered but didn’t receive. If you had, then your bank might have sided with you since you didn’t get the tickets you bought. But since it’s been more than 90 days since your purchase, which is the limit under the FCBA, your money may be “already gone,” to quote Glenn Frey.

I suggested you try one of the executive customer service contacts for Ticketmaster that we list in our company contacts database. And you did.

Your efforts to get a refund were not wasted time. “Within an hour of emailing the CEO, I had a refund,” you told me. I’m glad Ticketmaster did the right thing. That’s a resolution that left you with a peaceful, easy feeling.

If that hadn’t worked, you could have also tried my tips on how to get a refund from Ticketmaster.

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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 weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, Forbes and the Washington Post. He also publishes 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 Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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