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StubHub responds to Denver family's Taylor Swift ticket snafu

Colorado legislation may address similar issues in the future
Stubhub responds to Denver family's Taylor Swift ticket snafu
Posted at 12:39 PM, May 16, 2023

DENVER — Our partners at Denver7 are getting results for some Taylor Swift fans who bought tickets on StubHub for her Denver concert but later found they didn't really have tickets.

"I am definitely a Swiftie. I would not say, you know, I go as far as doing all the Swiftie theories, but I follow them," Hannah Ostertag said with a smile.

Caught up in the ticket glitches last year, Ostertag thought there was no chance she and her sister would get tickets to the Eras Tour, saying TicketMaster continuously froze and reloaded.

"So at that point, we pretty much figured that we were out of luck. As soon as those tickets went back on the market, the prices would be astronomical," Ostertag said.

Little did she know, her mother had saved up to help buy tickets for her daughters on the resale market. Ostertag bought tickets on StubHub to the July 15 show on April 9 and paid $1,947.

"My sister was super surprised. She went ahead and purchased flights to come out here," Ostertag said.

But a few weeks later, StubHub sent her an email that "the seller on this order has reported an issue." The tickets were mistakenly listed for the wrong date and were actually for July 14, which Ostertag and her sister could not attend.

StubHub has a "FanProtect Guarantee," that states the company will provide comparable or better tickets than originally purchased if something like this happens. Even though many tickets are still listed for the concert on StubHub, Ostertag said every time she tried the link provided for her alternative tickets, the site either showed nothing was available or offered seats that were behind the stage.

"It'd be different if I was going on the website and seeing, 'OK, you're right, nothing's available.' But I was sitting there saying, 'I could, in theory, go buy tickets right now.' So why aren't these being offered to me?" she said.

Ostertag said StubHub managers blamed its algorithm, saying a different team was responsible for finding comparable tickets. They told her to continue to check the link every day, but they did not have the ability to offer her comparable or better seats themselves.

Similar ticketing issues have prompted legislation at the state and national levels.

State Rep. Mark Baisley, R-Woodland Par, co-sponsored a consumer protection bill that will prevent ticket resellers from selling tickets they don't actually have.

"The prices are set by the venue and the performer in an attempt to certainly be profitable, but also to make it available to their fans," Baisley said. "If you let it go out of control with the reseller class, those tickets just go to just the more wealthy people, and that's not what they want."

Baisley said StubHub opposed the bipartisan measure, which is now on the governor's desk.

In a statement to Contact Denver7, StubHub said, "The StubHub FanProtect Guarantee is in place to protect buyers. It ensures that a ticket buyer will get in the door, and if any issue occurs, we’ll find an equivalent or better ticket, or provide a full refund but our priority is always to get our customers in the door. In Ms. Ostertag’s case, we have provided better replacement tickets to make good on this promise."

Addionally, StubHub is taking steps to better serve Taylor Swift buyers, saying it is monitoring tickets on a daily basis and escalating any delivery issues for the upcoming shows.

StubHub's sellers are being asked to deliver tickets early so the site is able to look into replacement tickets sooner. Customers are being told that different replacement ticket options will become available on a revolving basis, with inventory changing each day.

The company is training and re-briefing agents regularly to be sure they’re prepared to support buyers for upcoming events.

After Contact Denver7 reached out, StubHub contacted Ostertag to offer better tickets, valued at more than double what she paid for her original tickets.

"I am thankful for your intervention and that StubHub ended up honoring their policy," Ostertag said.

She said her concern is not solely about Taylor Swift Tickets, but about time, money and feeling powerless.

"Honestly, I hate to admit this, but it's true. Like, I've lost sleep over it," said Ostertag. "It's really a situation where we're just letting our corporations be really greedy. And at the end of the day, it's robbing consumers and just true fans the opportunity to get to go to events like this and support the artists that they want to support."

When it comes to buying event tickets, StubHub offers the following advice:

  1. Always use a service that offers an order guarantee and provides customer service to support your needs.
  2. Monitor your inbox and junk mail for your ticket delivery confirmation and details. You should receive this on the day of purchase.
  3. Check the order confirmation to be sure the tickets are for the date and time you intended. If anything is incorrect, immediately contact customer service.
  4. Review the ticket delivery details, provided by StubHub in an email. Delivery methods vary by artist, venue and event.
  5. Accept ticket transfers from the seller immediately to give you time to contact support, if necessary.
  6. Contact customer service immediately if tickets are not delivered by the date provided in the initial email, or if you have issues downloading the tickets, to allow ample time to resolve and offer replacement tickets if necessary.