On Thursday in the Central District of California, plaintiff Bruce Brouilette filed a class-action complaint against Vivid Seats LLC for failing to refund tickets he purchased for events through Vivid Seats and after the events were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company allegedly refused to provide refunds for these purchased tickets.
Vivid Seats is “a secondary ticket marketplace that connects ticket sellers with ticket buyers. Sellers can post tickets for sale on Vivid Seats’ online platform, where buyers can view and purchase tickets. In exchange, Vivid Seats charges the buyer and seller a fee.” Additionally, the defendant allegedly heavily advertises its 100% Buyer Guarantee “designed to give you full peace-of-mind, safety, and security”; the guarantee is included in its “commercials in large text and through Defendant’s constant reminder on banners throughout its website that the consumer’s purchase comes with a ‘100% Buyer Guarantee.” Furthermore, the plaintiff claimed that this guarantee entices consumers to use Vivid Seats.
According to the complaint, Vivid Seats “falsely and misleadingly promotes its ticketing services as having a ‘100% Buyer Guarantee,’ meaning that “if an event is canceled with no reschedule date, consumers are naturally entitled to a full refund of the purchase price, including delivery charges.” However, the plaintiff averred that when he tried to use the 100% Buyer Guarantee to be refunded for canceled events because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the defendant allegedly refused to provide a full refund. As a result, the plaintiff asserted that the defendant made false and misleading advertising claims. The plaintiff allegedly purchased two tickets on March 1, 2020, for $1,632.82 to see a concert in May 2020, but the concert was canceled in mid-March 2020 because of the pandemic. The plaintiff contacted Vivid Seats for a refund and was told that the defendant would be looking into it, however, the plaintiff never heard from the defendant and did not receive a refund as purportedly promised. Moreover, plaintiff Brouillette alleged that he relied on the 100% Buyer Guarantee when purchasing these tickets.
Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that “by ensuring that the sellers had cash available to continue purchasing tickets to other events, Defendant gave up the capital that was needed to provide its consumers with the ‘full refund’ that Defendant had promised.” The plaintiff averred that Vivid Seats “knew or should have known, that it did not have enough capital to provide its consumers with a full refund as it had advertised,” which “is exactly what happened when [the] Covid-19 pandemic occurred,” causing all events to be canceled with no rescheduled date when the U.S. shut down in March 2020. Consequently, the plaintiff proffered that the defendant should have known it could not honor this guarantee, thus it should have known that this was a false or misleading advertising claim. Brouillette proffered that Vivid Seats initially claimed that it would honor the 100% Buyer Guarantee, but it has purportedly not honored the guarantee, now, according to the plaintiff, it “has forced customers to accept only future, ‘Rewards Cash loyalty credit’” and Vivid Seats has changed the 100% Buyer Guarantee language to “from ‘you will be refunded for a cancelled event’ to ‘you will be compensated for a cancelled event.’” Brouillette averred that this is Vivid Seats’ attempt “to unilaterally minimize its exposure by changing its website’s language and by refusing to give consumers refunds.” The plaintiff claimed that he was under a false impression when purchasing these tickets.
Vivid Seats is accused of violating California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, California’s False Advertising Law, California’s Unfair Competition Law, as well as negligent misrepresentation and intentional misrepresentation.
The plaintiff has sought for this to be certified as a class action and for the plaintiff and his counsel to represent the class, injunctive relief, an award for damages, restitution, and other relief.