StubHub Ticket Refunds for Events Canceled Due to COVID-19

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Had a concert canceled because of COVID-19? Depending on where you live and how you got the tickets, you may be due a cash refund.

Attorneys general in 10 states and Washington, D.C., announced a settlement with ticket marketplace StubHub this week following a massive investigation into its refund policy for live events canceled during the pandemic. As part of the agreement, StubHub vowed to adjust its process — and pay back thousands of ticket holders millions of dollars.

The issue concerns StubHub’s FanProtect Guarantee policy, which before the pandemic ensured that customers who bought tickets on StubHub to events that were later canceled could get a full refund. When the coronavirus crisis locked down the U.S. in late March 2020, though, StubHub changed its rules. It no longer offered refunds; the only option was to get 120% of the purchase price in account credits.

People complained, the states launched a probe, and StubHub went back to its original stance this past May, telling customers who bought tickets before March 25, 2020, that they’d be refunded unless they wanted to keep the vouchers.

Most of the public officials involved in the StubHub settlement issued statements Tuesday and Wednesday celebrating the decision. Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring, for example, said “the COVID pandemic should not be used as an excuse to withhold refunds owed to customers for cancelled events.” Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh added that StubHub had a responsibility to follow its policy “despite the unprecedented circumstances,” and “this settlement ensures that consumers will receive the refunds that they are entitled to.”

Although only Arizona, Colorado and D.C. gave dollar amounts, Law360 reported the refunds exceed $9.5 million in total. (Business Insider calculated that the payments in seven locations were more than $16.7 million.)

As part of the settlement, StubHub also has to communicate any changes to its refund policies in advance, make good on its promises and process refund requests quickly.

“Adjusting our refund policy for canceled events during the pandemic was a difficult decision, but a necessary one at the time,” the company said in its own statement. “We appreciate the patience of our customers, partners and regulators as we worked toward providing that choice, and we appreciate the ongoing dialogue with the states as we worked to formalize the actions StubHub voluntarily took beginning in May 2021 through this multi-state agreement.”

(FYI: StubHub’s website displays conflicting information about its current guarantee for tickets. In one place, it says “if your event is canceled and not rescheduled, you will receive a credit worth 120% of the amount you paid for the impacted event or the option of a cash refund,” but in another it says which you get is generally at the company’s discretion. In a third spot, it says credits are the default, but customers can go into their accounts and request a cash refund. Money has reached out to StubHub asking for clarification.)