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With NBA season suspended, ticket refunds on hold through 3rd-party vendors: ‘I think it’s absurd’

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MILWAUKEE -- It's been a disappointing time for Milwaukee Bucks fans; many thought this was the team to go all the way.

Now, it's unclear when or if the NBA season will resume. So, what about all the fans who bought tickets?

Risa Berg

"This was going to be the first time we were all going to Fiserv Forum together," said Risa Berg. "There's a lot of people across the country who are in the same predicament that we are."

The doors of Fiserv Forum have been locked since the NBA suspended its season on March 11. Berg's family had 12 tickets to the Bucks game that was scheduled for Easter Sunday -- a purchase that came close to $700.

She reached out to Vivid Seats, which sold the tickets, and asked for a refund. She was denied. The reason?

"My husband got an email from the vendor that said that the game was in postponement status," Berg said. "I think it's absurd."

On its website, the NBA still says it "intends to resume the season, pending further developments related to the pandemic."

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

A spokesman for the Bucks told Contact 6: "There have been no canceled games. We are unsure of what a potential schedule or a number or a number of games would be."

Berg is skeptical that all games will be rescheduled and says, even if they are, the risk may not be worth the reward.

"My elderly in-laws were planning to go. There's no way I would put their health in jeopardy to rush to an arena event," said Berg.

Vivid Seats' policy is a common one among third-party ticket sellers; along with Ticketmaster, it's not refunding postponed NBA games.

The Bucks' website reads:

Refunds are not available for events that proceed as scheduled.

We encourage fans who are not comfortable to utilize Ticketmaster's verified ticket fan-to-fan resale marketplace.

If the status of an event changes, ticketholders will be notified via email.

"I'd much rather have my refund now and then be able to use my discretion to attend an event," Berg said.

The Bucks tell Contact 6 that anyone who bought tickets directly can call with questions. However, it has no control over third-party websites.

Fans with tickets to NHL or MLS games are in a similar position with those games postponed, too.

Statement from Vivid Seats:

“With regards to postponed events, since the event organizers have not canceled the event but instead postponed for a future date, the customer still has a valid ticket, which is why they are not currently refundable. If the status of the event changes and the tickets are no longer valid, customers will be immediately contacted by Vivid Seats with their refund or credit options.”

Statement from Ticketmaster:

Ticketmaster serves as the sales platform for event organizers worldwide. Our standard practice is for our clients to hold the cash from their ticket sales. Clients using our platform also retain the ability to set individual policies for their postponed or rescheduled events.

Typically, event organizers have had the flexibility to offer refunds for virtually all postponed and rescheduled events. However, the unprecedented volume of over 30,000 events impacted to date, coupled with continued uncertainty over setting new dates while awaiting clearance from regional governments, has led to event organizers needing additional time to reschedule their events before deciding to offer refund options.

As of today, over 11,000 events, including over 4,000 postponed sports, concerts and arts events, have already authorized refunds. While we cannot guarantee all event organizers will offer refunds on their rescheduled events, we anticipate the vast majority will make a refund window available once new dates have been determined. In addition, Ticketmaster continues to issue refunds for all cancelled events.

The entire Ticketmaster team is working from home and doing its best to respond to all fans and clients.  We will continue to keep fans up to date on the status of events via email and via our Covid-19 event portal.

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