Settlement with online ticket reseller secures more than $180K for Virginia consumers
A settlement with the online ticket reseller that operates TicketsOnSale.com will result in $183,450.67 in refunds to Virginia consumers.
TicketsOnSale.com is a website operated by Ryadd Inc. that advertises and resells tickets to consumers for events across the country, such as concerts, plays, and sporting events. Attorney General Mark Herring alleged in a complaint that the company included statements on its website promising refunds in the event of cancellations including that “[a] full refund will be given if an event is cancelled,” and that there was a “100% Buyer Guarantee” for tickets not delivered as promised.
In response to cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company allegedly failed to issue refunds as promised and changed its refund policy, instead offering a 120 percent “store credit … ready to be used right now on our marketplace towards the purchase of any ticket.”
The credits included a deadline for use notwithstanding the uncertainty around future events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the company refused to provide refunds to affected consumers at the time notwithstanding that the event venues themselves were in some cases offering full refunds for events.
Herring alleged in his complaint that the company’s actions violated the Virginia Consumer Protection Act’s prohibition on making misrepresentations in connection with a consumer transaction.
“Consumers should be able to trust that a 100 percent guarantee will be honored, especially during a global pandemic that halted virtually all in-person entertainment,” Herring said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has put financial strain on so many Virginians and I’m glad my team and I were able to get consumers’ money back for tickets purchased to cancelled concerts, plays, sporting events, and other kinds of entertainment.”
To resolve Virginia’s allegations, Ryadd Inc. has agreed to a prohibition against future unlawful conduct including failing to honor promised 120 percent credits to consumers or other written offers made to resolve disputes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has agreed to restitution, attorneys’ fees and civil penalties.
Namely, Ryadd Inc. has agreed to:
- Extend 120 percent credits for Virginia consumers until one year after the end of any state or states of emergency declared by the governor of Virginia related to the COVID-19 pandemic or, for non-Virginia consumers, at least one year after the settlement has received court approval
- Verify $183,450.67 in refunds made to consumers identified by the Office of the attorney general during its investigation, representing 100 percent of the price of the tickets purchased
- Provide refunds of 100 percent of the price of any ticket purchased to additional consumers who resided in Virginia at the time of purchase, or who purchased a ticket for an event to be held in Virginia, and purchased the ticket before Nov. 20, 2020 for an event cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Provide refunds of 50 percent of the price of any ticket purchased to additional out-of-state consumers who purchased the ticket before April 16, 2020 for an event cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Provide notice of cancellations to consumers with tickets to postponed or rescheduled events that are ultimately cancelled, and provide refunds in the same manner described above
- Pay $2,500 for the Commonwealth’s expenses and attorneys’ fees in investigating and preparing this action and be subject to a judgment of $32,500 for civil penalties with all but $2,500 of the penalties suspended so long as it complies with the terms of the settlement
To be entitled to a refund going forward, consumers must comply with a claims process including filing a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General within 30 days of court approval of the settlement, or 30 days after notice of cancellation.
Consumers may instead elect to accept the 120 percent credit offered by the business.
The settlement, in the form of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, has been filed for approval with the Circuit Court for the City of Lynchburg.