Abbott settles with online ticket broker

Bryan Cohen Jun. 20, 2011, 1:35pm


AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced a settlement on Friday resolving an enforcement action against an Austin-based online ticket broker.

In August 2008, Abbott alleged that TicketCity unlawfully marketed advance tickets to the Beijing Summer Olympic Games' opening ceremonies and other events. The enforcement action alleged that the defendant made false statements about its refund policy.

TicketCity allegedly sold opening ceremony tickets for $1,250 and promised to double the refund if it failed to deliver the pre-purchased tickets, initially stating that purchasers would receive the tickets before the start of the Olympics. Some Texans relied on the defendant's guarantee to advance purchasers and purchased airline tickets to Beijing. When the defendant failed to deliver the tickets, customers incurred substantial travel costs for an event they could not attend.

TicketCity is a secondary market broker relying on several sources to obtain tickets to a wide variety of events. Despite its alleged guarantee to advance purchasers, the defendant did not actually possess tickets to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games. In March 2008, TicketCity allegedly informed customers they would not actually receive these "guaranteed" tickets. The company allegedly refused to honor the 200 percent refunds customers were promised in the defendant's online advertisements.

The company allegedly refused to fulfill commitments it made to customers making purchases online at the same time that its sales personnel were offering to sell opening ceremony tickets at dramatically increased prices, which allegedly rose as high as $8,000.

As part of the settlement, TicketCity must provide the 200 percent refunds it originally promised customers who purchased tickets to the opening ceremonies. It is also required to post a 120 day notice on its website informing eligible customers how to apply for refunds and provide eligible customers who unnecessarily incurred expenses associated with traveling to China or who purchased tickets to other events and experienced the same treatment from the defendant with restitution.

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