A customer who sued Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation over allegedly changing its refund policy after the COVID-19 shutdown was ordered by a judge Thursday to go to arbitration.Derek Hansen, a San Francisco resident, had bought tickets for two Rage Against The Machine shows that were canceled early on during the pandemic. Technically the shows were postponed, which is crucial to his complaint against Ticketmaster. Hansen claimed that after he bought the tickets, Ticketmaster changed its terms regarding refunds in March following the pandemic shutdown, specifically in relation to refunds for postponed shows.U.S. District Judge Edward Chen granted Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s motion to compel arbitration in the lawsuit, which was filed in April, writing that Ticketmaster’s terms of use notice and agreement is “easy to get to.”Hansen’s attorney argued that the ticket company’s terms of use and arbitration agreements, which were only reachable by a hyperlink on their website, were not obvious enough for the average consumer to be placed on reasonable notice. Customers are also given a limited amount of time to read the terms of use and proceed to checkout before losing their place in line to buy tickets, Hansen’s attorney said.

Ticketmaster’s attorney countered that since Hansen was a repeat user of Ticketmaster, he’d already agreed to the company’s terms of use on many occasions. The agreement to Ticketmaster’s terms of use and an agreement to arbitrate any disputes were part of the contract when Hansen originally created his Ticketmaster account and again when he bought the Rage Against the Machine  tickets.

Chen held that although companies could use clearer instructions to inform customers that they agree to the terms of use by signing into their website, Ticketmaster and Live Nation had provided reasonable notice to a reasonable consumer.

The judge ordered the parties to arbitrate the dispute and stayed the matter.

The case is Derek Hansen v. Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. et al., case number 3:20-cv-02685, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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