Ticketmaster Finally Responds to Rising Tide of Customer Complaints

Ticket buyers hounded Ticketmaster for weeks, wondering when or if they would receive refunds for cancelled sporting events and concerts. Live Nation, parent company of Ticketmaster, offered no reprieve. Postponed events would not lead to refunds, it said, since events would be rescheduled.

As unemployment continued to grow, many ticket-holders were more adamant about refunds. With public demand for refunds rising and Ticketmaster failing to offer clear information, customer service lines were flooded with complaints.

And then the politicians became involved.

James Skoufis, a New York state senator, announced an investigation into the business practices of ticketing companies, including Ticketmaster, according to The New York Times. In addition, Skoufis asked N.Y.'s attorney general to open an investigation. Two members of Congress, Bill Pascrell of New Jersey and Katie Porter of California, followed suit and delivered a letter calling for refunds.

While the company could have accepted blame, sided with concertgoers and issued a refund plan, Ticketmaster instead claimed its plan was not in response to public criticism. A refund plan, it said, was in the works for weeks.

Aren't PR pros taught you can win more bees with honey? The company's gruff response seems somewhat inappropriate.

A Refund Plan

Starting May 1, ticket-holders can receive refunds for canceled and rescheduled shows, as well as credits worth 150 percent of ticket values for future events. If an artist reschedules, buyers will have 30 days to claim a refund for the new date.

Fans also can donate their refund to a charity that will give concert tickets to health care workers.

The weeks-long ordeal was lengthy because the company wanted to get it right, a Live Nation source told Billboard.

“It just takes time to work through the math and work with the calendar. When you move a Friday show to a Monday night, you don't know what is going to happen with the fans,” the source said. “We had to move slow[ly] to get it right and we hoped by May we would have some clarity on dates and agreed terms.”

When a company decides to create a process to help pained customers, it's of the utmost importance to continually update the public with the latest information. Hiding behind wordy policies and jargon rarely works. In the end, Ticketmaster and Live Nation did the right thing, though they could have benefited from more frequent and transparent communication.

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