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StubHub reprimanded over rescheduling refunds

Online ticket retailer, StubHub has been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), after it had advertised that “every order is 100% guaranteed” with its ‘FanProtect’ scheme, however the ASA found that “refunds did not apply to rescheduled events”.

The issue was raised when a complainant challenged whether the fact tickets were refunded if the event was cancelled but not if it was rescheduled was misleading. StubHub replied to the complaint by saying it felt the claim would be understood by way that the customer was “guaranteed to receive the tickets they purchased in time for the event”.

StubHub said it felt it had made it “clear” that it was not the ticket seller, promoter or event organiser, who they considered responsible for providing a refund in the event of a rescheduling. The ticket retailer said that the claim in the website’s footer was limited by space, and said where space was not limited they had explained their policy “more fully”.

The ticket retailer promised to add a link to the claim which provided details of the full policy for its ‘FanProtect’ scheme. The ASA told StubHub that it understood claims to mean that customers could obtain a refund “if their tickets did not arrive on time or gain them entry into the venue, or if the event did not go ahead at the scheduled date and time (whether it was cancelled or rescheduled)”.

The ASA said: “We welcomed StubHub’s action to add a link to the claim so that website visitors could easily navigate to the terms and conditions of the FanProtect policy, which did make clear that refunds did not apply to rescheduled events.

“However, we considered that adding a link to the policy was not sufficient to prevent consumers from being misled by the claim as it appeared in the website footer, because we considered that consumers would understand the claim in that context to mean that they would be able to get a refund if the event was rescheduled.

“Because the claim ‘every order is 100% guaranteed’ implied that consumers who purchased tickets through StubHub could claim a refund if the event was rescheduled when that was not the case, we concluded the ad was misleading.”

StubHub was told that “the ad must not appear again in the form complained of” and added that it should not use the claim “‘every order is 100% guaranteed’ unless the claim was prominently qualified to make clear that rescheduled events were not included in the guarantee”.

A spokesperson for StubHub told Retail Sector: “We acknowledge this ASA ruling and as a consumer-first marketplace we will work closely with the relevant authorities to ensure that our customers are fully informed about the benefits of our FanProtect Guarantee.

“Our industry-leading FanProtect Guarantee ensures that if an event takes place as planned but tickets are cancelled or invalid for entry at the venue, StubHub will offer comparable replacement tickets or refund the ticket purchase inclusive of fees.”

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