“Help. I bought Michael Jackson Tickets on eBay”

mjThe sudden death of Michael Jackson yesterday raises questions for people who have bought tickets for planned concerts this summer at the O2 arena. I’ve had a few emails from people asking what they should do. Here’s my perspective:

First, don’t panic. You may have spent a great deal of money on a ticket in the secondary market (on a site like eBay, for instance.) In any case, it’s unlikely that you will resolve the problem today. The situation’s still pretty unclear, so be patient with anyone you’re dealing with. There’s a lot of uncertainty.

If you bought your Michael Jackson ticket directly from a ticket agency (and not on eBay), then just contact them and sit tight. Presumably a refund policy will be announced shortly compensating buyers to the full face value of the tickets bought.

If you bought your ticket on eBay, likely for more than the face value of the ticket, your first stop should be the seller you bought the ticket from. I advise sending a polite email to the seller asking whether they will be issuing refunds for the amount you paid for the ticket. I’d expect that most reputable sellers will honour a refund for a concert that isn’t going ahead. They in turn (I assume) will be in a position to claim a refund from the promoter in due course. Be patient. The situation for sellers is unclear and chances are that they’ll have to shell out before they’re refunded.

If you bought your Michael Jackson tickets from an eBay seller in the last 45 days and paid by PayPal, then you can initiate the refund process on PayPal. To file a dispute, find out how to do that here. Personally, unless your 45 day limit is imminent I’d probably hold off this course until you’ve emailed the seller in the first instance.

If you funded your PayPal payment for tickets using a Credit Card and are unable to get a refund via PayPal, don’t forget that you are able to initiate a ‘chargeback’. To get going, you’ll need to contact your Credit Card provider.

If you paid an eBay seller directly by Credit Card (not via PayPal) for Michael Jackson tickets then you can also initiate a chargeback with your Credit Card provider. Contact them directly for advice on how to do that: the process varies.

eBay have published some information and plan to make a further announcement, so it will be worth keeping an eye on their Announcement Board. I’ll also update this post with any further information as and when it’s provided.

Update 27/06/09:
eBay have announced that “eBay is committed to ensuring that no buyer is left out of pocket as a result of the unique nature of the event, and will ensure all buyers on the site can receive a full refund for their ticket purchase.” This would indicate that they will be bending their rules to ensure that all Michael Jackson Ticket buyers will be refunded. So best advice is to enjoy the weekend and see what eBay have to say on monday.

19 thoughts on ““Help. I bought Michael Jackson Tickets on eBay””

  1. Thanks for the link. Useful article.

    Re chargebacks. I’m unsure if the APACS spokesperson is correct. She seems to be implying that chargebacks on eBay in general are not possible, which evidently isn’t the case. I also venture that different credit card companies will have different policies.

    I’d certainly advise individual buyers to try that course of action rather than rule it out.

    For ref, the valid part of the Paypal User Agreement is here, clause 13.15: https://www.paypal.com/uk/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=xpt/UserAgreement/ua/EUUA-outside#pbp-policy

  2. If the seller is not able to supply the goods that they are contracted to deliver then they are in breach of contract and can be taken to the small claims court. I did this successfully for a concert that was cancelled.

  3. tb,

    I think my aim was to explain the immediate, possible courses of action without resorting to the legal process.

  4. Thank you for a positive comments and grounded opinion. I completely agree. As an ebay ticket re-seller I have already started to initiate refunds. The vast majority of sellers will also do the same thing. It takes a long time to build up the sort of feedback needed to generate tickets sales successfully, and frankly more simply than that, most people are just not thief’s.
    It’s so annoying all the articles that are popping up on the Internet at the moment saying ‘you will most likely be loosing hundreds of pounds if you bought tickets off ebay’. It’s ridiculous scare mongering designed to grab your attention and make you read their tiresome little articles.
    It’s the same type people who claim people like me buy up all the tickets so the real fans cant get them blah blah. less than 0.5% of the entire 750000 Jackson tickets sold were listed on ebay. hardly ‘stealing all the tickets off the true fans’ is it.

  5. al,

    It’s astonishing that nearly 750k tickets have been sold, isn’t it? Huge.

    Press and media coverage has, at best, been unhelpful. But then I think eBay could have been quicker to clarify the situation too.

  6. surely a seller doesn’t have to give the full refund i.e. the profit he made over the face value of the tickets??

    i sold 2 tickets, face value of £75 each, for £420 odd. Surely i’d be expected to refund just the £75×2.

    my logic is that it was the buyers choice to pay over and above the face value of the ticket, and running the risk, as i didn’t allow refunds on my advert.

    what do you guys think?

  7. Mo, I’m in a similar position to you. To be honest, if I had the money sat around that the buyer had paid for the tickets then I’d refund it, but the truth of the matter is that it was a spur of the moment decision to get some tickets and try and make a profit to clear a tiny percentage of my debt. As a result I can only refund what I get back from ticketmaster.

  8. Mo and Alex,

    What do you think about this?

    Imagine I bought a toaster from a shop. I shell out £20. Small business. I like the guy who runs that shop. He’s just a guy making a living. Turning a shilling.

    When I get home and try to make toast, it turns out that the toaster doesn’t work. Obviously, I take the toaster back. I ask for a refund.

    He’s sorry. Times are tough. He doesn’t have the money I paid for the toaster. He can’t afford to pay me what I paid for the toaster.

    In any case, he didn’t pay £20 when he bought the toaster. He only paid £10. He’ll only get £10 when he sends it back. If he told me to be satisfied, I would be justifiably outraged. As would you both, I venture.

    Honestly, Mo and Alex. Turn the situation around. You’ve pocketed the profits here. Think of your customers. Do the decent thing.

    Your arguments are absurd, insulting and, frankly, greedy.

  9. DW,

    I read your post with some interest. “Here’s a chap/chapess with an interesting argument to make, I’ll have a read and give it some consideration” I thought. Then I reached your last line, where you got on your moral high horse and made sure that I wasn’t going to pay what you said a jot of attention.

    Unfortunately now for the buyer of my tickets, I will justify my actions with “absurd, insulting and, frankly, greedy” arguments, just for you.

  10. Alex, why punish an innocent customer because someone here said something you didnt like?

    Grow up.

  11. I already been taken my buyer a sue to the british police as doens.t want to give me the full money back so as he said it doen.t has the obligation the give me the money back so i see you in court darling.

  12. Pingback: Michael Jackson Ticket Refunds Update : Dan Wilson's Blog

  13. MJ Ticket Seller

    People like you give ticket resellers on ebay a bad name and increase the threat of increased legislation on the secondary market. As a MJ ticket seller myself, I came across this blog looking for any update on eBay’s promise to put together a facility to refund my buyer IN FULL (i.e. ticket price plus premium paid on ebay)

    There is no way you can justify keeping the ‘profits’ from any concert ticket sale if the event has been cancelled.

    My only guess is that people like Alex and Mo are just trying to get a reaction.

  14. Its seems to me everyone who bought a ticket off e bay is saying do the right thing and pay all the money back in full and everyone who sold a ticket is saying face value is all their getting back so of course its gonna be split depending what your posistion is. I just want to give a quick example of the way i see it……. If you go to a shop and buy a shirt for £100 then take it home and decide it doesnt look as good as it did in the shop, but you leave it a week before you take it back and in that time you lose the reciept, then when you get to the shop the shirt you bought is now in the sale for £50 so all the shop will be willing to give you is the £50 face value that the shirt currently selling for, so to all those people who bought tickets off e bay have now lost their reciept (MJ dying) and should only expect the face value that is on the ticket

  15. James, very different laws apply to buying from shops than to buying via the internet, even if you’re buying the same shirt: you do, after all, have the opportunity to look at the actual shirt and try it on in the shop.

    Plus, in your example, the shirt buyer has been pretty negligent (losing the receipt, waiting a week): MJ ticket buyers have not.

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