HARRISBURG – Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that consumers who purchased tickets online from a Nebraska-based promoter are eligible to get refunds for certain purchases now that the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General has entered into a settlement agreement with the company.
“Advertising one price and charging another will roll out the red carpet to an investigation by my office,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “Consumers need to know how much money their credit cards will be charged before they click to buy a ticket for a concert, show, or event. And promised refunds for canceled events must be honored.”
The investigation into Event Ticket Sales LLC and its managing member, Guinio W. Volpone, started after consumers complained they were being charged fees through the business’s alias, Secure Box Office at secureboxoffice.com (formerly Box Office Tickets at box-officetickets.com), that were not noticed by consumers until after they purchased the tickets.
The investigation reviewed the cancellation policies of the platform (pre-COVID-19 and during) and found a policy was changed to offer a credit to consumers instead of a guaranteed full refund for canceled events. The investigation also revealed that Event Ticket Sales refused to honor this refund policy as was stated when they purchased their tickets.
Montgomery County resident Patsy Garber bought two $28 tickets to the Philadelphia Flower Show but later realized she had been charged $168.23 by the company.
“I was stunned when I saw the higher price, but it was too late to cancel it. Once you click ‘submit’ you are, essentially, committed,” Garber said. “I was quite pleasantly surprised to hear of this settlement, since it was my understanding that there was nothing anyone could do. I’m very impressed with the Attorney General’s office for revisiting this issue.”
The settlement with Event Ticket Sales and Volpone, is in the form of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance. The company has agreed to make changes to its disclosures of the fees so consumers know exactly how much they are being charged before they agree to purchase tickets.
It is also agreeing to honor its refund policy and will provide full refunds for all Pennsylvania consumers who purchased tickets for events that were canceled. The AVC includes a suspended penalty to deter future violations of the law and of the settlement.
Pennsylvania consumers who purchased tickets through these websites and who believe they were charged fees that they did not agree to may be entitled to restitution under this settlement. Consumers should file a complaint by Jan. 18, 2021, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered. Also, Pennsylvania consumers who purchased tickets prior to May 21, 2020, and have not received a full refund for canceled events should file a complaint to request their refunds.
Chief Deputy Attorney General Sarah Frasch and Assistant Director for Multistate and Special Litigation John Abel filed the AVC in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
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