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Eventbrite facing legal action over refund policy

Eventbrite is now one of a trio of US ticket sellers to have been sued over alleged non-payment of refunds for called-off shows

By IQ on 10 Jun 2020

Like Eventbrite, the northern California district court is HQed in San Francisco

Like Eventbrite, the northern California district court is HQed in San Francisco

image © Ken Lund/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Eventbrite has become the latest ticket seller to be hit with a lawsuit over its alleged non-payment of refunds for cancelled or postponed events.

In a consumer class-action complaint filed on 4 June in the US district court for northern California, ticket buyers Sherri Snow, Anthony Piceno and Linda Conner accuse Eventbrite of “deceptive practices relating to its sale of live events tickets and its refusal to provide refunds for live events that have been canceled, rescheduled and/or postponed.”

According to the plaintiffs, by “shift[ing] responsibility” for issuing cash refunds to event organisers, Eventbrite is in violation of section 22507 of California’s Business and Professions Code, which requires that the “ticket price of any event which is canceled [sic], postponed, or rescheduled shall be fully refunded to the purchaser by the ticket seller upon request.”

“After the coronavirus outbreak forced the cancelation or postponement of most large events and public gatherings, Eventbrite has consistently refused to allow for refunds for canceled, postponed and/or rescheduled events, including when events are ‘indefinitely’ postponed,” reads the complaint.

“Instead, Eventbrite has tried to shift responsibility to event organizers, allowing them to refuse refunds for cancellations, postponements and rescheduled events.”

“Eventbrite has consistently refused to allow for refunds … including when events are ‘indefinitely’ postponed”

Secondary ticketing platforms StubHub and SeatGeek are both battling similar class-action suits in the US, with the former also the target of legal action in Canada.

“At best,” the complaint explains, “Eventbrite has urged some organizers to ‘make good’ when events are canceled, postponed and/or rescheduled” between 15 March and 15 May.

This, the plaintiffs say, does not go far enough, because it allows promoters to offer credit or vouchers for future events “no matter when in the future the event might occur or how much or when the credit might apply”.

While many European concert organisers have been empowered to offer ticket vouchers instead of cash refunds, no legislation of the sort exists in California or the wider US.

Among other forms of redress, the trio seek monetary damages, an order that Eventbrite will cease the “unlawful, deceptive, fraudulent and unfair business practices” alleged in the complaint, and legal costs, to be determined at a jury trial.

News of the lawsuit, revealed in the company’s latest filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), comes as Eventbrite records a month-on-month increase in ticket sales for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March.


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