A lawsuit seeking to force Ticketmaster to refund tickets for events “postponed” rather than cancelled has hit a snag.

Derek Hansen filed suit against Ticketmaster in April 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent COVID-19 lockdowns lead to the mass cancellation of live events and concerts worldwide. Hansen had paid $590 to see Rage Against The Machine in Oakland, California, but the event was postponed. Hansen’s proposed class action lawsuit was one of many against Ticketmaster and parent Live Nation seeking refunds for shows that will likely not take place within a year of their initial date.

The latest ruling came down to how conspicuous a link is.

Hansen’s attorneys argued that the link to the terms and conditions was hard to find and therefore you couldn’t blame consumers for not having familiarized themselves with them before buying. Judge Edward Chen agreed with attorneys for the defendants who argued that the link was “easy to get to.” As a result, Chen ordered both parties into arbitration as Ticketmaster’s terms and conditions stipulated.

Hansen’s original complaint argued that Ticketmaster had unscrupulously changed their refund policy as the first lockdowns began. On March 13, the complaint alleged, Ticketmaster’s refund policy indicated that “refunds would be available for postponed or rescheduled events.” By March 14, however, only shows which are “cancelled” would be eligible for refunds.

The distinction became crucial as venues were shuttered and Ticketmaster offered tickets for shows rescheduled a year or more into the future and other perks at their discretion rather than refunding ticketbuyers. The shows Hansen purchased tickets for were scheduled to take place on April 21 and 23, 2020, but were “rescheduled” to June 2021.

The case will now move to arbitration.


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