Just 21 days ago, online ticket exchange and resale company StubHub sent a reassuring email to their customers.
“StubHub is here for you,” reads part of the email, which was signed by company president Sukhinder Singh Cassidy.
In that email, Cassidy outlines to their “valued StubHub customer” base that there really isn’t anything to worry about when it comes to tickets they purchased. Yes, the coronavirus is causing issues with everything ranging from everyday life to professional sporting events and everything in between, but StubHub wanted to assure everyone they would be taken care of.
Take a look at what they promised those valued customers (emphasis is theirs):
If you bought tickets on StubHub and your event is still happening, you are good to go! If you can no longer attend your event for any reason, you can sell your tickets with confidence on StubHub in just a few quick steps.
If you bought tickets on StubHub to an event that is cancelled, you have two options:
1. Receive a full refund of your purchase
2. Receive a coupon for 120 percent of your original purchase*
Just three weeks later, the company issued an update on their coronavirus policy. You might noticed something is missing.
Today 3/27 #Stubhub updated their policy for CANCELED events. NO MORE REFUNDS. Only 120% coupon?— Don Shano (@don_shano) March 28, 2020
"When an event is canceled, you will receive a @StubHub coupon worth 120% of your original order."@sukhindersingh, that's not going to go over very well.https://t.co/GeNuH5WD4l pic.twitter.com/zHYY2Tp6Fg
“I want to assure you that StubHub’s FanProtect Guarantee protects every purchase — the ticket you have purchased on our site will get you into the event or we will make it right,” reads the update, which is also signed by Cassidy. “And StubHub’s award-winning customer service is on standby to help with any issues or concerns.
“If you buy tickets on StubHub to an event that is canceled, you are covered by our FanProtect Guarantee. When an event is canceled, you will receive a StubHub coupon worth 120 percent of your original order. For your convenience, we will directly add it to your StubHub account once the event is canceled.”
Where’s that guaranteed refund? It’s just missing with no explanation. That’s quite the dramatic turnaround, considering less than a month has gone by.
The company, built around the constant sale and exchange of tickets to live events, announced cost-saving measures on March 24, according to Celebrity Access, an entertainment industry site. In a statement to the site, StubHub indicated it made the “difficult but responsible decision to furlough a portion of our employee base.” The site reports the number of employees to be 67 percent of the company’s workforce, leaving approximately 150 workers out of about 450 to handle operations until “at least June.”
One has to wonder how reassuring emails to those employees were in the weeks leading up to their furlough.
Then there’s the question of the legality of the move, beyond any ethical shortcomings.
StubHub updated their policy today. Instead of full refunds for canceled events, they changed it to a COUPON worth 20% more than the value of the ticket. As pointed out by @don_shano, this is not only absurd (fans deserve their $ back), it’s unethical and likely illegal. pic.twitter.com/onFRrGVh6S— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 28, 2020