Exclusive: SF nonprofit says Brown Paper Tickets owes it $14K in sales from recent show

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ByLuz Pena via KGO logo
Friday, September 23, 2022
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Musical Theatre Works says Brown Paper Bag Tickets owes $14,000 in sales revenue from the San Francisco nonprofit's latest stage production.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A San Francisco musical theater company is reporting that the ticketing platform it's been using for over a decade hasn't paid it the proceeds from its latest show.

After a week of the exhilarating show "The Music Man" by San Francisco's nonprofit, Musical Theatre Works, the team realized their proceeds had not come in.

"We have reached out at least a dozen times and gotten the same automatic response and no further inquiry or follow up," said Christina Lazo, executive artistic director for Musical Theatre Works.

Since May, Lazo and her team have been trying to get a response from Brown Paper Tickets, the ticketing platform they've been using for over a decade. The company owes them $14,000 in show proceeds.

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Luz Pena: "Several months of not getting paid. How is this impacting your nonprofit?"

Christina Lazo: "A lot. It's a substantial chunk of our income. We do two major shows a year."

Brown Paper Tickets is a Seattle-based company. Musical Theater Works filed a complaint with the Seattle branch of the Better Business Bureau and then took it a step further.

"We also reached out to the attorney general of Washington," said Lazo.

It turns out that Lazo and her team are not alone. Joelle Hoffman with the Santa Rosa nonprofit, Compassion without Borders, said the organization recently got its ticket money after a year and eight months of waiting for Brown Paper Tickets.

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"They held onto $20,000 in ticket proceeds for us," said Hoffman and added, "I kept emailing them asking 'Where is my money? Where is my money?'"

Lisa Geduldig, a Bay Area comedian, said she had to wait a year for the proceeds of one of her shows.

"To get my $281 dollars," Geduldig said.

In 2020 The Washington State Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Brown Paper Tickets.

Last year, they announced an estimated 45,000 event organizers and ticket purchasers, nationwide and internationally, would receive a total of approximately $9 million from the ticketing company.

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Even after that lawsuit in 2022 the Better Business Bureau has received 162 complaints against Brown Paper Tickets. They have an "F" rating on BBB's website.

"We are seeing that on the business side, maybe is a business as in this case, that hosted a production with tickets through Brown Paper Tickets, and they did not receive those funds. We are seeing it from the consumer side as well," said Logan Hickle, PR and communications manager for the Better Business Bureau.

ABC7 News reached out to Brown Paper Tickets and did not get a response.

"I say stay with it," said Hoffman and added, "Don't let Brown Paper Tickets take your money."

Lazo said they are having a tough time trying to get a hold of the ticketing company. She said that since the pandemic, Brown Paper Tickets has "turned their phone system off. So there is no customer support. They made that clear. Then you just get an automated email response that says there may be some longer than usual wait times. The usual wait time is one week. So this is a lot longer than the usual wait times and there is really no other communication."

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