Secondary ticketing market StubHub has pushed back its timeline for paying ticket sellers, and the platform's customers are furious.
Denver's Meggin LeVeaux, who was selling four tickets to the Chris Tucker concert on Friday, March 20 — in part because she was concerned about the possibility of COVID-19 cancellations — sold two of those tickets on March 6 and another two on March 8. The buyers paid StubHub and received their tickets. The only person who has not received any money for the transactions is LeVeaux.
"StubHub's normal policy is to pay sellers within 5-7 business days after the sale," LeVeaux wrote to Westword. "On March 16th, I noticed I still hadn't received payment, so I called StubHub. I was told that they had implemented a new policy as a result of coronavirus. Instead of paying sellers 5-7 business days after the tickets sold, they were paying sellers 5-8 business days after the event. This wasn't great news considering I'm currently on unemployment and needed those StubHub funds to buy groceries, pay bills, and other expenses that I'm financially responsible for."
When she sold the tickets, the concert was still scheduled for March 20, so LeVeaux figured she would have her money soon. But when the show was postponed until the fall, she was told by StubHub that she would not receive her money until five to eight days after the new concert date of September 11.
Meanwhile, the buyers have their tickets for the new date, and StubHub has their money.
"I asked if I could cancel the transaction and get my tickets back and was told no," she added. "So, I can't get my tickets, and I can't get paid for five more months."
StubHub's president, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, acknowledges that the new practice that blindsided a number of sellers is a deviation from the company's standard of paying sellers for ticket sales before events. In a note to customers on March 30, he attributed it to the unprecedented cancellation of 23,000-plus events over COVID-19.
"Under normal circumstances, these processes are manageable," Cassidy explained. "Given the impact of the coronavirus, it is not possible to sustain this practice in the near-term. We are facing significant timing delays in recouping funds from the thousands of sellers on our platform, and expect these challenges to continue in the coming months. At the same time, buyers expect immediate refunds. As a result, we’ve enacted new policies in the US and Canada that we believe are clear and fan-first."
Buyer beware: Here is StubHub's new practice:
We understand fans are disappointed and concerned by these large-scale event cancellations. We were the first in our industry to begin offering customers 120% credit for the canceled purchases as a thank you for remaining patient in a very challenging period. In the first two weeks of offering this option, approximately 70% of customers opted to receive this additional future value. Recently, we announced this as our standard policy for canceled events, with refunds available in jurisdictions where they are required. Coupons can be applied to one or multiple StubHub orders in the same currency. If your order is less than your coupon value, you can use the remainder on another event.
And for sellers, this is StubHub's new plan:
Meanwhile, sellers on our platform also face challenges. Music and sports fans, season ticket holders, and business sellers are unclear if teams and primary ticketing companies are providing credits or refunds for the tickets they had previously bought and subsequently sold on StubHub. We are working with the thousands of sellers across our platform to understand options and timing for repayment to us for tickets of canceled events. We’ve also updated our seller policies going forward to manage future risk.
But many sellers, including LeVeaux, don't buy it.
"That means I would need to wait five more months to get my money?!?" she asked. "In a time when the government is issuing checks to help people stay afloat, StubHub won't return money that they've already collected!"
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