StubHub seller won't give girls Taylor Swift tickets purchased 6 months ago. See what happens next

ByMichael Finney and Renee Koury KGO logo
Sunday, May 14, 2023
StubHub seller won't give girls Taylor Swift tickets bought months ago
Two Bay Area moms bought Taylor Swift concert tickets on StubHub for their 13-year-old daughters, but StubHub told them it didn't have the tickets.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For Taylor Swift fans, there's little more coveted than tickets to her latest concert tour. They sold out before general public could even try to buy one.

However, two Bay Area moms scored tickets on StubHub for their 13 year old daughters-and excitement ran high - until it turned to heartbreak.

"Every day we'd say, get the tickets, get the tickets, we wanted them so bad,'' 13-year-old Olivia Schuman recalled.

The young teen and her friend since birth, Sasha Malek, have been Taylor Swift fans nearly their entire lives. Now, their mothers are fans too.

So, when they heard the superstar was going on tour this year, the two moms decided to take their daughters to see her in concert.

"To have your 13-year-old daughters want to do anything like this with their mothers, and be excited, it's like seeing yourself through them,'' said Olivia's mom, Isabelle Schuman, who is also longtime friends with Sasha's mom.

"We both like Taylor Swift. Our daughters like it, I thought it would be fun,'' Schuman recalled. "I said, are you in? Let's go to L.A., a girl's trip."

MORE: Ticketmaster cancels public sale for Taylor Swift's Eras Tour due to insufficient ticket inventory

The tour had sold out in minutes last November, so Schuman went to the StubHub secondary marketplace and bought four tickets to the show in Los Angeles, their seats not far from the stage.

Excitement quickly grew.

"They're already talking about what outfit they wanted to wear, and what we should wear, and how we're gonna do heir hair,'' Schuman said. "Apparently when you go to a Taylor Swift concert you dress up in the clothes that go with the theme of her albums."

"We're gonna do this, like, glitter heart around our eye,'' Olivia said, tracing a heart shape with her finger around one eye.

"We got airline tickets, we booked a hotel, the girls were super excited and so were we."

But six months later, a crushing letdown.

"StubHub came to us and said ...we don't have tickets for you," Schuman recalled

MORE: After concert is postponed three times, ticket refund gets lost between seller and bank

When the Blake Shelton show was postponed a third time, a Santa Rosa music fan had to ask for a refund -- but a miscommunication meant neither Etix nor Citibank could find the money. "Each of them told me to contact the other one to get it fixed," she said.

Six months after she bought and paid for the tickets, Isabelle received an email from StubHub saying "We apologize, but unfortunately your seller is not able to provide the tickets you originally purchased."

"I was shocked,'' Schuman said "Why are they just telling us now six months later?"

Suddenly, they had no tickets. And no explanation. Just disappointed teens and wasted airline tickets.

StubHub's Fan Protection Guarantee says if a sale falls through, fans are entitled to a full refund, or "comparable-or-better tickets."

But "comparable" means a similar price - and at the current, going rates. And of course Taylor Swift ticket prices have skyrocketed since Schuman bought her tickets back in November.

She'd paid $3,400 for four seats including fees last November. Right now, comparable seats listed for anywhere from $13,000 to $17,000, including StubHub fees, for the Los Angeles date.

"Why did I buy my ticket six months ago,'' Schuman said. "There's no guarantee. Yeah, get my money back, but you're not guaranteed your ticket.

MORE: Taylor Swift tickets listed for over $21K on StubHub after millions flood Ticketmaster presale

Now I had to go back and tell the girls, they were disappointed. Sad."

"It was upsetting, it just felt not fair,'' Sasha's mother Jessica said.

Schuman complained by direct message to StubHub saying, "We aren't even guaranteed to get tickets. How do you tell a 13-year-old that?"

StubHub replied, "Regrettably, we are required to follow our policies...the section you purchased has gone up three times what you paid. We can't issue replacements. Unfortunately I cannot guarantee tickets."

"They said they have no control,'' Schuman said. ...it's the seller. It's coming from the seller"

Schuman had planned to present the tickets to Olivia at her bat-mitzvah this month. Now there were no tickets at all.

She contacted ABC7, and 7 On Your Side team asked StubHub how it allows a seller to renege on the sale of tickets.

StubHub said sellers do face penalties if they remove a ticket from the platform after it's been sold. They also are not allowed to cancel a sale and then raise the price, which is what Schuman suspected was happening, since it's possible to fetch a much higher price for those seats.

The fan guarantee does not include replacing tickets at a higher price.

Which means it's not always possible to count on those seats.

MORE: 'Excruciating for me': Taylor Swift speaks out on Instagram after Ticketmaster cancels general sale

However, StubHub did take action.

"An hour and a half (after contacting ABC7), I got a phone call from StubHub,'' Schuman recalled. "They were gonna help me out."

StubHub came through with four seats in a section similar to their good seats nearer the stage -- for no extra cost. And at the bat mitzvah party, Schuman handed Olivia and Sasha an envelope.

"Girls there's something exciting for you,'' Schuman told them.

"What is it?" the girls replied.

They opened the envelope, precious tickets were tucked inside. Joyful shrieks erupted from the group. (see video)

"ABC7 helped us," the moms said. "Thank you, ABC7!"

StubHub could not say why the seller did not release the tickets, or if the person was hoping to fetch a higher price.

StubHub says it does penalize sellers who fail to provide tickets after they're sold, or who cancel a sale and then raise the price.

Our thanks to StubHub for the new tickets. The girls are thrilled.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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