Ticketmaster Won't Refund Shipping Charge For Unshipped World Series Tickets

As mentioned earlier, the World Series starts tonight. Consumerist reader Louis is doubly ticked-off because A) his Yankees aren’t playing and B) Ticketmaster is still holding onto some of the money he paid for tickets to a game he’ll never see.

Writes Louis:

Unfortunately I’m a Yankee fan. I managed to snag World Series tickets. Today I received an email saying that my refund was processed as a result of no World Series games being played in NY.

I was told that my handling fees were not going to be refunded, and to take it up with Ticketmaster. So I call them and they explain that this is the UPS fee. They say I used the service, so I cant get a refund.

Fair enough, except, I never received anything, and after some inquiring, it’s explained to me that since the event was canceled, nothing was actually mailed.

So if a service is not rendered, I should be refunded, no? According to them, a REQUEST was put in for the refund, but it is no guarantee.

I was even told that part of the reason for not being refunded was because Ticketmaster printed the tickets. Now, pardon me, but if I’m not refunded a UPS fee, then I totally expect to receive SOMETHING from UPS, useless or not.

Louis says he’s been told he’ll receive some sort of response from Ticketmaster in the next 24-72 hours. In the meantime, he plans to talk to his credit card company to see if a chargeback is in order.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Zen says:

    You are being charged for a service you didn’t receive? That’s pretty much the definition of a transaction justifying a charge-back.

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      I’d be surprised if this was actually company policy. It sounds like a new person who’s afraid of screwing up and costing her boss money. The OP never mentions anything about trying to escalate to a manager, so we don’t know how far this went.

      I’ve never heard of this pre-buying World Series tickets. How many people do this? If it’s a lot, I hope they train their employees on how to process these…

      • mrscoach says:

        My niece bought playoff tickets ahead of time. It seems to be standard. All they do is take orders and send the tickets out when games are confirmed. It is the only way to do it, I guess, when you get past the fourth game and don’t know if there will BE a next game. It also lets them open early orders for season ticket holders and such, so they can get their preferred seats, then sell the rest to the general public.

        But if they didn’t SEND anything I don’t see how shipping can be charged.

      • TheWillow says:

        I bought tickets to a friend’s concert via ticketmaster a few weeks ago and the event was canceled and rescheduled for a later date in a different venue- I got an email from TM stating I would be required to repurchase tickets if I wanted to attend the new date, and I would be refunded ALL of my money, specifically calling out that this would include fees.

        • TheWillow says:

          PS the best part is I tweeted about it saying something to the affect of “wow TM actually did something not entirely evil” and the TM account retweeted it while cutting out the backhanded part of the compliment

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      But yes, you’re absolutely right on the chargeback. The CSR at his credit card’s company will agree, most likely.

    • Griking says:

      Woot, a charge back recommendation in the first post.


  2. dolemite says:

    They are going to send a letter saying “No Refund” in a UPS shipment.

  3. Kishi says:

    I’d demand the tickets. But, then, I’m the kind of person who thinks it’d be interesting to own tickets for something that never happened.

    • apd09 says:

      So do a bunch of kids in Africa who are currently running around in 2009-2010 Boston Celtics NBA World Champion, Indianapolis Colts 2010 Superbowl Champion, and Tampa Bay Rays 2009-2010 World Series Champion t-shirts.

      • apd09 says:

        this was supposed to say Philadelphia Phillies 2009-2010 World Series Champion t-shirts, I was thinking back to when the Rays were in it but then remembered too late that was 2 years ago. I should have fact checked before I hit submit.

        • DarthCoven says:

          Well, it should say “2010 World Series Champions”. Baseball (and now MLS, but they don’t count) is the only sport to hold their season within a single calendar year. NFL, NHL and NBA all overlap.

          • apd09 says:

            I realized that too, but after I corrected myself once, I figured 1 correction was enough and would allow someone else to do it for me.


            • Jayrandom says:

              Nope, that was 2009-2010. If the Phillies had won, they would have been the 2009 and 2010 World Series champs, as they did win the 2009 Series.

      • Kishi says:

        A couple years ago, I almost managed to get a Cubs-Red Sox 2003 World Series pin off of eBay. I only wish I’d had the extra money to win it, even though I don’t really care much for either team.

      • ohhhh says:

        Don’t forget the New England Patriots 19-0. (I had to, your logo and all)

      • Straspey says:

        And let’s not forget those New England Patriots t-shirts which say:

        “2008 Superbowl Champions: 19-0”

  4. nocturnal99 says:

    Just call your credit card company. When Broadway went on strike a few years back and my tickets were cancelled and refunded, they wouldn’t refund the service charges. Mastercard didn’t give me a problem charge-backing.

  5. topgun says:

    This guys screwed twice. First by Ticketmaster, then by being a Yankees fan

  6. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Ticketbastard owes him… PERIOD.

  7. stebu says:

    I’m surprised this isn’t being called AirTran’s fault.

  8. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    I’m torn. I hate to see a consumer ripped off, particularly by Ticketbastard.
    On the other hand, this is a Yankees fan we’re talking about…

  9. Penn20 says:

    I call BS on this lame excuse. Then they turn around and blame UPS ? Nonsense. UPS has nothing to do with it.

  10. Billy says:

    FYI: Here’s the Ticketmaster policy (it’s vague):

    Canceled Events – You’ll get an automatic refund for tickets bought online or by phone using your purchase payment method. If you bought your tickets at a retail location, please return them at the same location for a refund. (We refund all fees except UPS and retail pickup, and fees on certain Major League Baseball purchases.)

    It seems to me, though, that this is assuming that the tickets are in-hand and were actually delivered (as is probably the case when 99% of things get cancelled).

    • Hermia says:

      This happened to me once. I returned the tickets and the refunded the face value of the ticket price. I had to eat the fees. I’m still angry at the band that cancelled their US tour. I fought with Live Nation for weeks, but ended up eating the $20 in fees for 2 tickets. They suck.

    • TheWillow says:

      I said this upthread, but last time I had a concert canceled before the tickets were printed they refunded the price and specifically told me that included the fees.

  11. apd09 says:

    There is a class action law suit against Ticketmaster right now for something very similar to this. Ticketmaster was upcharging the UPS fees to ship tickets and then pocketing the money, thereby charging you an additional fee that was not disclosed because they made it seem like the cost to ship the tickets was a direct pass through from UPS but they were tacking on an additional few dollars.


    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      Columbia House had to change the phrase “Shipping and Handling” to “Shipping and Processing” as a result of something similar. Apparently the courts feel it costs more to process something than it does to handle it.

      • shepd says:

        Handling is done by anyone selling anything always. It’s an assumption it’s included unless you can walk into the manufacturer’s warehouse and help yourself. Now, processing, that “adds value”. Just like how (where I am) foreign foods can become Canadian when they are “processed” here. For example, Chinese fish becomes Canadian fish if they bread it in Canada (with Chinese corn flakes).

  12. Mike says:

    Let me just say that as Yankees fan, I love the Yankees hate in a couple of the comments. Although it was sad to see the Rangers win since I live in Texas, it was nice to see that people actually cared about baseball because they wanted to see the Yankees lose. Dynasties with David and Goliath stories make sports fun.

    Now if only the Cowboys could start winning some games so I could hate on them more. I usually love cheering against them, but at this point I am beginning to feel bad about it, they stink so bad talking trash about them feels like picking on a handicapped kid.

    BTW, Ticketmaster sucks, no one, and I mean NO ONE likes them.

    • Greg Ohio says:

      The greatest day in my life was January 5, 1997, when the Cowboys lost to the recent expansion Panthers.

      My wife is really fond of that story.

  13. nakkypoo says:

    Ticketmaster policy is irrelevant. You paid for something to be shipped, nothing was shipped. Your credit card company will do a chargeback based on that. Don’t even waste your time climbing Ticketmaster’s phone tree.

    • Billy says:

      The policy is relevant because when you agree to purchasing a ticket, you agree to those terms in their policy.

      If the Ticketmaster policy was to refund all of your money plus double the face value of the ticket, you certainly wouldn’t say that the policy is irrelevant, right?

      That said, Ticketmaster’s policy doesn’t seem to address this situation (which seems to be a rare one).

      • nakkypoo says:

        The reason Ticketmaster’s policy is irrelevant is that they have an agreement with their merchant bank that when they take money to ship something, they must ship it. They cannot make a customer agree that it’s okay for them to break their agreement with their bank. There are certain rights you cannot contract away, this is one of them. Ticketmaster could ship him the now worthless tickets, then he wouldn’t be entitled to a chargeback. But as long as nothing is shipped, a chargeback is in order, and Ticketmaster has no defense to it.

        Anyway, this is my last post and my last visit to Consumerist, so no reply is needed but if it might benefit others, have at it.

      • nakkypoo says:

        Save my last sentence for this post instead. Basically the only reason Ticketmaster’s policy is irrelevant is the shipping part. Nothing got shipped. That’s really the only thing saving this guy. Had they shipped something, anything, he’d be SOL. Or had he done a retail purchase and not picked them up, he’d be SOL.

        Now I’m out…

  14. waltcoleman says:

    Ticketmaster is the NUMBER ONE reason I rarely attend sporting events and concerts anymore. If my only option for tickets is Ticketmaster, I pass.

    Fvcking criminals…

    • riguitargod says:

      They’re never your only option. You COULD always go direct to the venue and save on the fees.

      But that would be inconvenient… Hence the reason they charge a convenience fee :P

      • jason in boston says:

        Bingo – what is more “expensive”? Your time or the fees?

      • BurtReynolds says:

        Not the venues I’ve been to. They charge the same damn TM fees at the box office. Believe me, I’ve looked into any way possible to not give TM/LN any extra money.

      • jesirose says:

        I bought some tickets to a comedy show the other day. I started to buy them online, and saw there was a $5 fee per ticket. So I called up, and the same fee applied for buying over the phone.

        So I drove on over to the club, since it was close. They charged me the same fee.

  15. bkdlays says:

    Chargeback for services or goods not received. Its black and white. I wouldn’t bother speaking with TM either.

  16. Gulliver says:

    Thats what you get for doing business with Ticketmaster, you should have gotten your tickets from…… , oh shit you mean those assholes have a monopoly? Never mind. I say let the charge go and sue them in small claims court> Make them appear and make them spend a ton of money on it. See if it happened to at least one other person and make it class action. I want that company destroyed from top to bottom. If you work for Ticketmaster, it is the same as saying you were a Nazi soldier just doing your job. GET OUT NOW.

  17. Griking says:

    Don’t they allow online purchasers the ability to print their own tickets at home? If not I can’t see why not.

  18. Browncoat says:

    Sue ’em in small claims court. You can recover your filing fees too.

  19. psm321 says:

    My local University ticket office did that to me for an event they canceled. Pissed me off but not enough for me to actually do something about it. In their case it seemed like an easy way to make free money: sell tickets, cancel event, repeat

  20. Difdi says:

    His business relationship is with Ticketmaster, not UPS. He paid his money, including the shipping fee, to Ticketmaster. If what the CSR said is true, it changes nothing, Ticketmaster owes him the money, and then should recover the money from UPS. If it comes down to a lawsuit, the OP sues Ticketmaster, and then Ticketmaster sues UPS.

  21. NeverLetMeDown says:

    I’m in the same situation as the OP, and I had tickets coming via TicketFast (i.e. PDFs). The email I got said the handling fee wouldn’t be refunded.

    As I understand it, this actually isn’t Ticketmaster’s fee, but a payment made to MLB that Ticketmaster just passes through.

    Most of what come up as “fees” on the Ticketmaster site are actually paid to the venues or performers, Ticketmaster keeps a small chunk of them. They get put forward as the bad guy, but it’s the venues and performers that like this system, because a ticket with a $75 face value, but $15 in fees, looks “cheaper” than a ticket with a $90 face value.

    • ludwigk says:

      Your answer is not responsive. This is a delivery fee for a ticket that was purchased for an event that was canceled. Venues and performers have NOTHING to do with how Ticketmaster sends their ticket to the customer. In this case, the event was canceled, and the tickets were not sent. When Ticketmaster charges you a fee to do X, then they do NOT do X, they do not incur any expenses, and are unjustly keeping your money.

      Now, if OP contractually agreed to the non-refundability, then he is screwed, but please don’t pretend like the policy isn’t bullshit, or that ticketmaster is not to blame when they clearly are.

  22. macoan says:

    I’m confused – first he says that Ticketmaster will not refund the handling charges….

    … then he jumps to saying that Ticketmaster will not refund the UPS (shipping) charges….

    Even though I do not like it, Ticketmaster “HANDLED” the order, and even though it never went though, that is what I see the “HANDLING” fee as being.

    I would think there would be a different “SHIPPING” fee to ship tickets, which should get refunded if nothing was ever shipped.

  23. xscarfaceloux says:

    Its basically the norm for Ticketmaster to sell playoff tickets before all the teams are set in stone… Especially World Series tickets. I spoke with one CSR who was very dismissive. She gave me the UPS tracking number and claimed that they tried delivering it but there was no apt # so they couldn’t. This is BS because I’m in a private house and UPS rings ALL 4 bells to ensure someone can or cant get it, and they always leave a message saying to go pick it up or wait till tomorrow. When I repeated the tracking number to confirm, she didnt even listen and just asked if that was all. When I called back again after the tracking number DID NOT WORK the other CSR confirmed that the tickets were in fact never shipped out. I dealt with the 2nd CSR cordially, and she escalated it to another department which I’d hear back from in 24-72 hours. I never said I was going to immediately do a charge back, I just mentioned that if they fail to refund me through whatever means they are going through, do I have ground to do it which I believe I do. My intentions were and have always been to escalate to a charge back if they fail to refund my payment after the 72 hour deadline they set. I didn’t feel a need to escalate to a manager because the 2nd CSR was helpful and decided to escalate it with whatever department handles it. If that doesn’t work ,sure I can call back and ask that dept. to speak to a person in charge, but I’m more inclined to say screw Ticketmaster, and just do a chargeback for this egregious charge on my CC.

    Just to clear up some odds and ends… the email I got from mlb said I wasn’t being refunded “handling fees.” So I contacted my Yankee ticket rep to inquire. He explained that I should take the issue up with Ticketmaster. I called Ticketmaster and when I asked them to ask them to explain “Handling Fees” they chalked it up as the fee charged for shipping. And for those citing the refund policy… I am TOTALLY ok with not getting a refund if I was sent a pair of useless World Series tickets, because obviously UPS was providing the service. In this case, nothing was shipped by UPS nor is it in the process of being shipped, so Ticketmaster basically is saying that since they PRINTED the tickets but NEVER sent them out, they are entitled to keep the fee charged for shipping. On top of all that, I had tickets to Game 7 for last years World Series, and got a full refund no questions about it since it was only a 6 game series. And I’m a die hard Yankee fan, but also a baseball fan so Im not sour about our loss, and I’m glad that there is some fresh blood playing in the World Series. Red sox and Met fans can suck it.

  24. PLATTWORX says:

    UPS is not a party in this dispute. They were “hired” by Ticketmaster.

    Yes, TM needs to refund that charge as they did not provide any shipping services. If not, a quick credit card dispute will accomplish the same thing.

    Glad to hear he did not use a debit card.

  25. dush says:

    If they printed the tickets they should be able to send them.
    That might be cool to have tickets to a world series that never happened.

  26. packy says:

    If he’s paying a UPS fee, he should get the tickets, however useless they are. If no tickets are shipped, then there’s no justification for a UPS fee, since Ticketbastard hasn’t paid any money to UPS.

    Tickerbastard just wants to keep the fee.

  27. ThaKoolAidKid says:

    I’m in the same boat. Bought World Series tickets and was told the same thing. I will be filing a grievance with both companies and telling my CC not to pay.

  28. komodork says:

    Time to sue the company, nation wide!