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Sunday, June 08, 2008

StubHub is grossly incompetent

Yes, they're a ripoff, too, but that's not my issue this time. I bought tickets for a Flight of the Conchords concert in San Francisco last month. I hadn't bought tickets from StubHub before, and they turned out to be computer print-out tickets, which seemed a bit sketchy. When we got to the auditorium, I was fully prepared for the tickets to be invalid, but they scanned at the door and we were in! We made our way to our seats, which turned out to be pretty good - 5 rows back in the balcony.

So we're sitting there for a while, and then some guy comes and says we're in his seats. We do the whole ticket-check thing, and -doh!- we were one section over from where we were supposed to be. So we go over, to even better seats, but there's a coat on one of our seats. The people next to us say that there are two girls sitting there, and that there'd already been a conflict over their seats, too.

The opening act starts (which was pretty lame), and I go talk to the usher to see what's up. The usher remembers the two girls, who happen to walk up as we're talking, and yep, they've got
real tickets. Usher sends us down to the box office. So we go down to the box office, and they explain that the guy who bought the tickets had the order invalidated, because he bought over the limit (why did TicketBastard sell him tickets over the limit? one might ask), and that the tickets had been invalidated the day after they were bought, long ago. Well, that sucks.

I ask what our options are, and they tell me we can actually just buy two new tickets on the spot (strange, since it sold out in about 30 seconds). I'll take two guaranteed tickets vs. telephone customer service any day, so we buy the tickets and head in. Turned out to be even better tickets - center section, 10th row. Show kicked ass.

Then the fun starts - a few days later, I call StubHub to explain what happened and ask for a refund, under their
guarantee, which states:
If tickets are invalid and are not honored by the venue:

In the event the Buyer encounters any problems at the venue, the Buyer is encouraged to call StubHub Customer Service immediately at 1.866.StubHub (1.866.788.2482) for assistance. If the Buyer contacts StubHub from the venue at the time of the event, StubHub will attempt to locate comparable replacement tickets for the buyer. If replacement tickets cannot be found, or if the Buyer was not able to contact StubHub before the event, StubHub will provide the Buyer with a prepaid FedEx shipping label to use in returning the tickets to StubHub along with a Ticket Return Form. Upon confirmation by the venue that the tickets were invalid, StubHub will issue the Buyer a refund for the full cost of the tickets, including service fees and shipping and handling charges.
Great - I can ship the tickets back at no cost, and get a refund. Good thing I paid a premium for such a reputable ticket scalping service! When I call (5/31/08), they explain the same story that the auditorium box office did - the guy's order was invalidated. Then it gets interesting - they tell me they contacted me several times to try to issue replacement tickets, and that I called them on May 22nd (concert was May 27th) as well, so they're not going to issue me a refund. Except, they didn't contact me, and I sure as hell did not contact them. They wouldn't tell me how they "contacted me several times," refusing to even list the means of contact (they had a correct phone number and e-mail address, and the order confirmations had come through just fine). After explaining to the rep that there had been no contact, she admitted that someone had made those notes on the wrong account, and that they had had no contact with me. She said she'd escalate my issue to their resolution department, who would call me within 24-48 hours.

Three days later (6/3/08), and no phone call, so I call back. I get another rep, who goes through the same "tickets were invalidated," "we contacted you several times," crap, but doesn't budge when I explain that their information is wrong. I ask for a supervisor, and after sitting on hold for a while, she comes back and says it's going to be a very long wait for her supervisor and I should just wait for the resolution department to contact me. "Fine," I say, and explain that I'll start the dispute process w/ my credit card company and hopefully they'll get in touch with me before that finishes.

Sunday, 6/8/08, and still no call, so I call back. Rep says she can't do anything but send yet another request for their resolution department to contact me and mark it urgent. Great - that's been working so well for the last week. Fortunately, my credit card company's dispute department has much better customer service. I also filed a dispute with the Better Business Bureau (case #

Update (6/9/08): Got a call from StubHub customer service today saying they'd found my blog post and wanted to resolve the issue quickly. They said they posted the refund this morning, but it hasn't shown up on my credit card yet. I guess the lesson is a blog post is more effective than calling customer service.

Update (6/11/08): The refund finally came through today! The customer service rep I talked to on Monday said their resolution department has had a high workload lately and hasn't been able to get to issues in their normal timeframe. Still no good explanation of the incorrect notes about multiple contacts on my account, but I'm glad I've got my money back.



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