StubHub Canada Ltd. and StubHub Inc. have been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging they refused to issue refunds to Canadians who purchased tickets for events that were cancelled, or will likely be cancelled, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The StubHub refund class action lawsuit says customers are entitled to receive a prompt refund in the original form of payment under the terms of their agreements with StubHub, and under Canada’s consumer protection laws.
Plaintiff Shandelle Randall of Mississauga, Ontario, says she purchased four tickets from StubHub for approximately $1,181 for a Toronto Raptors home basketball game that was scheduled for March 24 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
When the NBA suspended its season on March 11, Shandelle reviewed StubHub’s FanProtect Guarantee and felt reassured that she would receive a full refund for the price she paid for her tickets if the Raptors game was cancelled.
Later, she learned that StubHub had revised the language of its FanProtect Guarantee to state that customers would receive a credit for a future StubHub purchase instead of a full refund as was initially promised.
StubHub is the largest ticket resale platform in the world, the StubHub refund class action lawsuit says. It generates profit through the fees it charges on each ticket sold.
“A key element of StubHub’s business model is its FanProtect Guarantee, a set of contractual terms and warranties that supplies the crucial element of trust necessary for fans to buy tickets from nameless, faceless sellers over the internet,” the StubHub refund class action lawsuit says.
According to the StubHub ticket refund class action lawsuit, customers have been willing to pay premium prices and hefty fees directly to StubHub largely because of the FanProtect Guarantee, which ensured that refunds would be available for events that are cancelled or for tickets that did not end up granting entry to an event.
Until March 25, StubHub’s FanProtect Guarantee reportedly provided full refunds to customers in situations in which the ticketed event was cancelled and not rescheduled. The StubHub ticket refund class action lawsuit alleges that the company began taking steps to limit its liability to its customers once it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic would have a massive impact on live events.
StubHub reportedly sent an email to customers on March 12 offering coupons for 120 percent of the original purchase price paid for tickets to events that had been cancelled as an alternative to a full refund. On March 25, StubHub reportedly changed the terms of its FanProtect Guarantee so that it stated, “if the event is canceled and not rescheduled, you will get a refund or credit for use on a future purchase, as determined in StubHub’s sole discretion (unless a refund is required by law).”
Shandelle says that StubHub knows that the Raptors game will not be rescheduled yet continues to consider the event as postponed instead of cancelled.
“While StubHub continues to claim that the March 24, 2020 Raptors vs Lakers game is ‘postponed’, the game is de facto cancelled,” the StubHub refunds class action lawsuit states. “On May 8, 2020, the NBA Commissioner confirmed that if this season resumes, any rescheduled games will not be played in front of fans.”
“Despite this fact — of which StubHub is surely aware — Shandelle’s event is still listed as ‘postponed’ as of May 19, 2020.”
According to the StubHub ticket refund class action lawsuit, Shandelle has attempted to contact StubHub for a refund. She says she attempted to use the ticket seller’s online customer service chat but received “unhelpful automated replies.” When she called StubHub in April to request a refund, a customer service agent told her that the company could take no action at this time because the event was “postponed” and not cancelled.
Shandelle says she is entitled to the refund that she was promised because the event has been cancelled and can’t be rescheduled. She says she does not want and does not consent to a credit for use on a future StubHub purchase.
To make matters worse, Shandelle says she was laid off from her full-time job on March 26 and the $1,186 she paid to StubHub for a cancelled event would “make an important contribution to her family’s household budget in these difficult times.”
Class Members of the proposed StubHub refund class action lawsuit include all Canadian residents who purchased at least one ticket from StubHub before March 25 for an event that has been cancelled (or will be cancelled by the date the proposed StubHub class action lawsuit is certified), and who have not received a refund.
Did you purchase a ticket from StubHub for an event that has since been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic? Did you request a refund? Tell us your story in the comment section below!
Shandelle is represented by Kirk M. Baert, James Sayce and Charles Hatt of Koskie Minsky LLP.
The StubHub Refunds Class Action Lawsuit is Shandelle Randall v. StubHub Canada Ltd., et al., Case No. CV-20-00641194-00CP, in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Canada.
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