FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHOENIX –Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s Office (AGO) received the Consumers’ Research Consumers’ Champion Award on Wednesday Dec. 15, 2021, for the first-in-the-nation settlement with Ticketmaster. Arizona’s fight for consumers returned more than $71 million in refunds to consumers who purchased tickets to Arizona live events that were cancelled, postponed, or rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am proud of our office for receiving this prestigious award from Consumers’ Research,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Since taking office, I have prioritized consumer protection and have returned a record-amount of restitution to Arizonans.”
Attorney General Brnovich’s legal battle with the ticketing giant, which resulted in his selection as a Consumers’ Champion, aligns with earlier efforts by Consumers’ Research to call out Ticketmaster and others for prioritizing partisan politics ahead of what is best for consumers.
“I am thrilled to give the Consumers’ Champion Award to Attorney General Brnovich and his team,” said Will Hild, Executive Director of Consumers’ Research. “COVID-19 impacted consumers in all aspects of life, but thanks to great elected officials like AG Brnovich, consumers were not taken advantage of by companies who were more focused on woke policies than serving their customers. This settlement is a huge win for Arizonans and all consumers.”
Ticketmaster Settlement Background
The AGO asserted that prior to March 14, 2020, Ticketmaster’s online FAQs promised at the time of sale to automatically make refunds available for cancelled, postponed, or rescheduled events within 7-10 business days. However, as of March 14, 2020, Ticketmaster updated its website to say the company would only issue refunds automatically for cancelled events and Ticketmaster allowed Event Organizers (promoters, artists, or venues) to set refund limitations on postponed or rescheduled events.
Through good-faith negotiations, the AGO secured an agreement with Ticketmaster to return over $71 million in refunds for consumers for 650 Arizona events that were cancelled, postponed, or rescheduled due to COVID-19 in October 2020.
Civil Litigation Division Chief Counsel Joseph Sciarrotta, Senior Litigation Counsel Rebecca Salisbury, and Consumer Protection Litigation Unit Chief Matthew du Mée handled this case.
Record AGO Consumer Protection Recoveries
Since General Brnovich took office in 2015, the AGO has obtained significant consumer protection civil penalties and secured well over $200 million in restitution and other forms of relief for Arizona consumers. The unprecedented restitution amount more than doubles the total restitution awards secured by the AGO for 2000-2014 combined. Recent significant settlements led by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office include:
- $25 million consent agreement with Arizona Public Service (APS), including $24 million in consumer restitution for over 225,000 consumers. This unprecedented consumer protection investigation of a public utility resolved claims that APS failed to provide adequate information to consumers regarding their most economical rate plans.
- $113 million global multistate settlement arising from Apple secretly throttling the performance of its iPhones.
- $13.3 million consent judgment as part of a multistate settlement with consulting firm McKinsey & Company, resolving an investigation into the company’s profiting from the opioid epidemic through its opioid consulting work that facilitated those opioid companies’ promotion of their drugs.
- $14.5 million consent judgment with comprehensive injunctive terms against vaping giant Juul.
- $5 Million settlement with Honda over defective Takata Airbags.
More examples of the AGO’s historic recoveries can be found here.
About Consumers’ Research
Founded in 1929, Consumers’ Research is an independent educational 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its near century old mission is to increase the knowledge and understanding of issues, policies, products, and services of concern to consumers and to promote the freedom to act on that knowledge and understanding. Consumers’ Research frequently comments on the effects that laws, regulations, and government programs have on consumers. For more information visit: http://consumersresearch.org.
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