By Christopher Elliott
Editor’s Note: Problem Solved is a weekly Q&A column that fixes consumer problems. It features authentic reader cases and practical solutions, ranging from broken kitchen appliances to fraudulent online purchases. Problem Solved repairs the problem and offers advice for how to avoid trouble the next time you make a purchase.
Sandra McLean can’t access her Rolling Stones tickets online and misses the concert. Does she deserve a refund?
In 2020, I paid $637 to Ticket Liquidator for Rolling Stones concert tickets at the Dallas Cotton Bowl. The show was postponed because of COVID. Since it was not canceled, I could not get a refund.
Finally, 1 1/2 years later, the Rolling Stones rescheduled the show. My tickets were encrypted on a computer and made available to me a day before the performance. When I tried to access the tickets, I couldn’t.
My son came to my condo to help, but he couldn’t access the tickets either. I called customer service, but a representative told me I had a “corrupted” link. She promised to expedite my request to tech support to get our tickets by the next day.
But tech support never came through. I had no tickets and I missed the Rolling Stones. Ticket Liquidator would not refund the tickets. I tried to file a chargeback with my credit card, but that didn’t work either. They took my money. Can you help me get it back? — Sandra McLean, Rockwall, Texas.
I see your problem, and despite all of your efforts, you can’t get no satisfaction from Ticket Liquidator. Of course, the company should have given you access to a ticket that you could use.
But the pandemic complicated your case. Ticket Liquidator transferred the tickets to you online back in 2020 when you ordered them. At that point, if you had clicked on the link, you could have accessed them. Instead, it looks like you waited until you needed to use them, which was almost 1 1/2 years later, a day before the concert. By then, the link had expired, and neither wild horses nor Ticket Liquidator’s tech support team could bring them back.
It’s a real shame you missed the show. It was one of the last Charlie Watts performances.
You should have had the option of a refund after the first Rolling Stones show cancellation and you probably did, but you wanted to see the band. And I can’t blame you — I’m also a fan. But you can’t always get what you want. (How many Stones references have you counted already?)
According to Ticket Liquidator, it tried to reissue the tickets through Ticketmaster but ran into some problems with Ticketmaster’s restrictive system.
“Had they been issued in a format that allows for consumer-friendly transferability without restriction from the original vendor, there would have been no issue to speak of,” says Sean Burns, a spokesman for Ticket Liquidator.
But you could have also prevented this by opening the link when you received the tickets. If you’d done that, then you wouldn’t have run out of time and missed the concert. Links to tickets often expire online for security reasons. Of course, your instructions should have noted that, but apparently didn’t.
Burns says several states, including New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Colorado, Virginia, and Utah, have passed legislation requiring that ticket sellers offer a choice of format in tickets they purchase, rather than forcing customers into mobile-restricted systems controlled by the primary seller.
“Based on marketplace policies agreed to at the time of sale, this order would not qualify for a refund,” Burns told me. “However, in the interest of helping get them back out to a show after this disappointment, we are offering this client a credit good towards a future purchase.”