HALL COUNTY, Ga. - As they watched the prices creep higher and higher, Heather Webb said she and her husband decided in February to splurge on tickets for the 2021 All-Star Game for their son's birthday.
"He loves the Braves. He loves baseball. He plays travel baseball and we were like what a great opportunity to have the All-Star Game here in Atlanta and be able to take [him] and a friend to it," Webb recalled.
She said she purchased four tickets from a resale site called TicketsOnSale.com at a cost of $1,862, plus additional cancellation insurance on the tickets for $116.
Major League Baseball announced on April 2 they had decided to move the game because of Georgia's controversial new election law.
The Atlanta Braves originally sold all of the tickets to the event. A spokesperson for the organization said they immediately issued refunds to everyone who had purchased them and those who used credit cards had their money back within 24 to 48 hours.
Webb, however, did not. She said she reached out to TicketsOnSale a few days after the announcement and in an email, they declined her request for a refund.
"The coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted in the cancellation of thousands of live events. Government shutdown orders, which are beyond our control, have made it impossible for events to occur as scheduled. Due to this completely unforeseen and unprecedented epidemic, we are no longer able to offer refunds for events that have been canceled," read an email to Webb signed, "The TicketsOnSale Team."
"My heart just sank," said Webb. "Like I said, we would never have spent that much money for my son for his birthday and now I'm out almost $2,000 and I have nothing to show for it."
Webb also contacted the ticket insurance company, Allianz Global Assistance.
"Your insurance program provided Event Cancellation benefits for very specific reasons," the company wrote in a letter to Webb. "Unfortunately, the event location being moved out of state is not included among those reasons."
Thomas Johnson, Vice President for Public Relations at the Better Business Bureau in Chicago said consumers should do their homework before purchasing tickets online.
"This is an emotional buy, right? This is not a necessary buy. This is something you really want to do," Johnson explained. "It gets really emotional, like, 'Oh, I found two over here on this website,' but you don't necessarily do the diligence and look up this website, which may be F-rated or have terrible reviews."
Consumers have posted complaint after complaint about TicketsOnSale.com on BBB.org.
In April the Virginia Attorney General's Office announced they had reached a settlement with TicketsOnSale "to resolve claims of deceptive trade practices by the company in failing to honor its "100% Buyer Guarantee" for events cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic."
Webb has contacted an attorney who has sent a letter to the company on her behalf. She has also filed an official complaint with the Georgia Attorney General's Office and the BBB. Webb has submitted a claim to her credit card company as well in the hopes they will reverse the charges.
"I'm going to fight for this," she said.
Anyone who has had a similar experience should contact the Georgia Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.
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