StubHub: “It Is Currently Impossible for Us to Offer Immediate Cash Refunds”

(photo: Benjamin Sharpe)

StubHub has officially responded to the recent controversy surrounding its refund policy amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

As first reported on Digital Music News, some StubHub customers are taking to social media to vent about the ticketing platform’s newly updated refund policies. While StubHub previously allowed ticketholders to request face-value compensation for passes to events cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis, subsequent changes (implemented last Friday) took the full-refund option off the table. Now, StubHub customers are entitled solely to vouchers for 120 percent of the price they paid for their tickets.

StubHub’s official response begins by noting the far-reaching effect that the coronavirus has had on the live-event industry: “In the last few weeks, 28,000+ events have been cancelled, postponed or rescheduled – 23,000 in the US alone.” The statement proceeds to emphasize the “unprecedented” nature of the coronavirus, as well as StubHub’s continued willingness “to go above and beyond for our customers.”

After that, the message indicates that StubHub had “made the decision to refund buyers before collecting money from the seller” under typical circumstances simply to enhance the quality and convenience of the shopping experience. Because of the coronavirus’s “magnitude” and the difficulty associated with “recouping monies owed by sellers,” however, the 120 percent voucher supplanted the refund option.

“It is currently impossible for us to offer immediate cash refunds to all buyers,” the statement continues.

The final leg of StubHub’s explanation reiterates that “we were the first in our industry to offer a coupon worth 120% of the ticket value,” and that these vouchers will be the “default” refund option for customers in the United States and Canada; buyers in other nations are still able to get their money back (presumably because there are far fewer StubHub users outside North America).

There may be a delay in processing coupon requests, the statement finishes, because of coronavirus-related challenges and the sheer volume of the task.

At the time of this writing, Twitter users were still voicing their frustration with the voucher policy. It’ll be interesting to see how popular opinion of the matter shifts in response to the above-described statement, particularly as the coronavirus crisis proceeds.

Here’s the company’s full statement.

“StubHub is a global marketplace and our policies vary by region, in line with local guidance. In the last few weeks, 28,000+ events have been cancelled, postponed or rescheduled – 23,000 in the US alone. Given the unprecedented impact the coronavirus has had on the live events industry, we have adapted our policies in the US and Canada while continuing to go above and beyond for our customers.

“As a marketplace, we act as an intermediary for buyers and sellers. In normal times, we’ve made the decision to refund buyers before collecting money from the seller to offer buyers more convenience. And under normal circumstances, this works well, even with StubHub taking the risk of timing delays and some losses when we are unable to collect from the seller. With the coronavirus impacting 28,000+ events and the associated magnitude of challenge in recouping monies owed by sellers over the coming months, it is currently impossible for us to offer immediate cash refunds to all buyers.

“When the volume of cancellations accelerated a few weeks ago, we were the first in our industry to offer a coupon worth 120% of the ticket value. This will now be our default option in Canada and in the US. Outside of the US and Canada, fans are defaulted to a refund. Due to the exceptional circumstances the music and sport industries are currently facing, some refunds may take a little longer than normal to process. We greatly appreciate our community’s patience and understanding during this extraordinary time.”

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