ST. LOUIS (CN) - Ticket broker MetroTix made millions of dollars from hundreds of thousands of people through bait-and-switch refund policies, a class action claims in City Court.
Benjamin Hallmeier sued St. Louis-based Metropolitan Tickets dba MetroTix.
Hallmeier claims MetroTix's bait-and-switch tactics include failing to notify ticket buyers of its event cancellation policy, changing its cancellation policy after selling the tickets, refusing to refund the full purchase price for canceled events.
Hallmeier claims he spent $232 on tickets to a concert that was canceled, and MetroTix refunded only $198 - the face value of the tickets.
"Upon information and belief, the receipt for the refund contained the following statement: 'All tickets are NON-REFUNDABLE and NON-EXCHANGEABLE,'" the complaint states. "'In the event of a show cancellation, only the FACE VALUE of the ticket will be refunded.'
"The language contained in defendant's cancellation terms in paragraph 20, which is only available after a purchase is made or a refund is given, is deceptive and differs significantly from the language used in the purchase policy in that it uses the phrase 'face value of the ticket' rather than 'face value of your purchase' which is used in the Purchase Policy.
"In any event, it is deceptive for the defendant to inform customers in the Purchase Policy that upon an event cancellation it will refund the face value of their purchase when in fact only a partial refund is given."
Hallmeier estimates that MetroTix has sold tickets to more than 50 events that have been canceled since 2009, affecting more than 200,000 customers.
The class consists of all Missourians who bought tickets through MetroTix to events that were canceled. Hallmeier seeks actual and punitive damages for violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and breach of contract.
He is represented by David Steelman, with Steelman, Gaunt & Horsefield, of Rolla.
MetroTix says on its website that it has sold tickets to St. Louis-area events for more than 20 years. Customers can buy tickets in person, over the telephone or through the Internet.
MetroTix's purchase policy, checked Thursday on its website, states in part: "Tickets and merchandise purchased through MetroTix.Com are subject to a non-refundable per-ticket or per-item service charge. Purchases may also be subject to non-refundable per-order handling and/or delivery charges. In the event of an event cancellation, Metrotix.Com shall use reasonable efforts to ensure you receive a prompt refund of the face value of your purchase. In the event of an event cancellation, please contact us for information regarding receiving your refund."
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