Monday, September 10, 2012

StubHub's guarantee doesn't guarantee tickets will work

Porras v. StubHub, Inc., 2012 WL 3835073 (N.D.Cal.)

StubHub is an “online marketplace for the resale and purchase of tickets to sporting events, concerts, theater shows, and other live entertainment events.”  Porras bought two tickets to a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers through StubHub's website, paying $594.95. She also spent $442.80 for two round-trip plane tickets from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  She was initially granted entrance, but was removed by security halfway through the game and told her tickets were invalid.  She complained to StubHub and received a $594.95 refund.

She brought the usual California claims, alleging that StubHub “makes numerous misrepresentations and ‘guarantees' on its website that a ticket purchased by a buyer will be ‘authentic,’ and ‘valid for entry,’ when, in fact, [StubHub] delivers tickets that are not authentic or valid” and that StubHub’s “FanProtect Guarantee,” misleadingly implies that all tickets purchased on StubHub will be valid for entry.

The court first held that there was no violation of California’s ticket seller statute because StubHub wasn’t a ticket seller; it merely brought buyers and sellers together.

Turning to the UCL, FAL, CLRA, fraud, and breach of contract claims, the court first rejected StubHub’s standing argument.  Though Porras received a refund of the ticket price and fees, she was injured by shelling out for plane tickets.  However, StubHub’s conduct was not unlawful, unfair, or misleading.  StubHub clearly disclosed that, if the buyer encountered any problems at the venue, she should call StubHub, which would try to find comparable replacement tickets, and if it couldn’t it would issue a full refund.  “An ordinary consumer reading the terms of StubHub's FanProtect Guarantee would recognize such guarantee would not exist unless there was a possibility that the tickets purchased might not be valid for entry.”  The site’s use of the terms “guarantee,” “100% confidence,” “authentic,” and “valid” wasn’t misleading, because the guarantee made clear what the promise was: an attempt to find replacement tickets and, if that failed, a refund.

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