by Alex Lloyd Gross
Prior to the pandemic, people were buying tickets to events in the Philadelphia area via Event Ticket Sales LLC and its managing member, Guinio W. Volpone, started after consumers complained they were being charged fees through the business’s alias, Secure Box Office at secureboxoffice.com (formerly Box Office Tickets at box-officetickets.com), that were not noticed by consumers until after they purchased the tickets.
The investigation reviewed the cancellation policies of the platform (pre-COVID-19 and during) and found a policy was changed to offer a credit to consumers instead of a guaranteed full refund for canceled events. The investigation also revealed that Event Ticket Sales refused to honor this refund policy as was stated when they purchased their tickets.
This company sold tickets to the Philadelphia Flower Show. They charged fees that were not disclosed until after a purchase was made. For example,Montgomery County resident Patsy Garber bought two $28 tickets to the Philadelphia Flower Show but later realized she had been charged $168.23 by the company.“I was stunned when I saw the higher price, but it was too late to cancel it. Once you click ‘submit’ you are, essentially, committed,” Garber said.
The Attorney General’s Office has entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with Event Ticket Sales and Volpone, is in the form of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance. The company has agreed to make changes to its disclosures of the fees so consumers know exactly how much they are being charged before they agree to purchase tickets.
It is also agreeing to honor its refund policy and will provide full refunds for all Pennsylvania consumers who purchased tickets for events that were canceled. The AVC includes a suspended penalty to deter future violations of the law and of the settlement.
Pennsylvania consumers who purchased tickets through these websites and who believe they were charged fees that they did not agree to may be entitled to restitution under this settlement. Consumers should file a complaint by Jan. 18, 2021, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered. Also, Pennsylvania consumers who purchased tickets prior to May 21, 2020, and have not received a full refund for canceled events should file a complaint to request their refunds.