Walla Walla woman waits on ticket refund, AG files lawsuit
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Just before the pandemic hit, Alexi Storm from Walla Walla, and her boyfriend were hoping to attend the Wheatstock Concert in Oregon.
Storm said she bought tickets for $65 because the proceeds would benefit local seniors graduating from high school.
“Randy Rogers was coming to Helix, Oregon which is really close to Walla Walla and I was really excited to go,” she said.
But, the concert was cancelled amid COVID-19 restrictions.
Brown Paper Tickets, a Washington-based company, sent out instructions for people to get a refund.
At the time, the vendor who calls themselves a ‘fair trade ticket company’ was facing dozens of cancelled events due to the pandemic.
“‘Hey, submit your order number and you can get a refund, and I did that right away and I never heard back,” Alexi said.
After months of emailing concert organizers and Brown Paper Tickets, Storm realized she wasn’t the only one trying to get her money back.
In September 2020, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson stepped in to investigate.
“I was really optimistic that I’d get my money and the state even said they have to send reports in every month to show how many refunds they’re processing,” Storm recalled.
The Attorney General said they received 1,200 complaints about Brown Paper Tickets. People reported they hadn’t received refunds, despite the company’s policy and even some event organizers said they were never given proceeds from tickets.
Investigators determined nearly 45,000 organizers and attendees were affected by cancellations.
Eventually, the AG’s office ruled Brown Paper Tickets had to pay back $9 million in refunds and $70,000 to the office for fees.
“Emailed and followed up every maybe six-eight weeks, I’ve been checking my bank statements,” Storm said to this day, she hasn’t received the money back.
Alexi said what’s more upsetting, the Wheatstock Concert hasn’t changed ticket vendors; they’re still using Brown Paper Tickets.
“Now going into summer and seeing this concert advertised again, and them using the same company I’m starting to get frustrated and more importantly just upset that
that this can keep happening,” she said.
Employees with Wheatstock said that decision had already been put into place for 2021’s concert. Additionally, they were told Brown Paper Tickets would handle getting the refunds out in a timely manner. KAPP KVEW was told they also owe the nonprofit at least $2,000.
The Walla Walla resident said it may not be hundreds of dollars, but she’s self-employed and supports herself; and hopes she gets the money back soon.
Alexi has heard back from both the Wheatstock organizers and Brown Paper Tickets who said they are still processing refunds due to an employee shortage and overwhelming amount of refunds.
KAPP KVEW did reach out to both vendors, as of the story’s original air time, they have not responded for comment.
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