PENNSYLVANIA — Attorney General Michelle Henry this week announced a settlement has been reached holding accountable the ticket reseller website, www.boxofficeticketsales.com, for violations, including a change of policy that eliminated refunds for canceled events.
The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General has entered into a settlement agreement, known as an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC), with online ticket reseller Secure Ticket Purchase, LLC and John Urich, who sold tickets online through the website www.boxofficeticketsales.com for alleged violations of Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practice and Consumer Protection Law.
During the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent cancellation of events, such as music concerts, Secure Ticket Purchase changed its refund policy to only offer “store credit” for purchasers of tickets for canceled shows.
The website www.boxofficeticketsales.com has been one of the largest ticket resale platforms for Pennsylvania consumers.
“Secure Ticket Purchase thought they could walk away with consumers’ hard-earned money by surreptitiously changing their refund policy in the middle of a pandemic,” said Attorney General Henry. “This settlement puts all ticket resellers on notice: if you deceive Pennsylvanians to maximize your bottom line, you will be held accountable.”
Secure Ticket Purchase, LLC (“Secure”) offers tickets online for events in Pennsylvania and beyond. In response to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, most, if not all, concerts and events in Pennsylvania were canceled due to safety concerns. Secure previously guaranteed ticket buyers a full and immediate monetary refund for a canceled event. Secure then changed their refund policy, without notice and against Pennsylvania law, to a mandatory store credit and refused to provide monetary refunds for canceled shows, according to the Office of Attorney General’s investigation.
Additionally, the Commonwealth’s investigation alleges that Secure failed to comply with Pennsylvania’s ticket resale statute, which was introduced to combat ticket scalping. The law requires any individual who purchases tickets with the intent to resell them at a higher price to first obtain a license from the County Treasurer where the sale will occur.
Online ticket resellers may bypass the licensing requirement by having a business presence in the Commonwealth, registering with the Department of State, and guaranteeing full refunds to customers if the event is canceled or the tickets are defective. The Commonwealth alleged that Secure had been selling tickets online for years without following the requirements for online ticket sales.
As part of the settlement, Secure has agreed to fully refund any Pennsylvania consumer who purchased a ticket before November 19, 2021 to a show which was canceled, and has not yet received a monetary refund from Secure. Secure has also agreed to immediately take appropriate steps to comply with the Pennsylvania ticket resale statute. Finally, Secure will pay restitution to the Commonwealth and the costs of the investigation.
Pennsylvanians who purchased tickets before November 19, 2021 through www.boxofficeticketsales.com for a show that was canceled and has not yet received a monetary refund should contact the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection by filing a consumer complaint online at www.attorneygeneral.gov/submit-a-complaint/consumer-complaint/ or email [email protected] on or before Monday, June 26, 2023.
The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance was filed in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas by Senior Deputy Attorney General Paul D. Edger.
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