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She tried to cancel her Dave Chappelle and Joe Rogan tickets because of COVID. Then this happened

Tricia Lewis cancels a Dave Chapelle and Joe Rogan show in New Orleans because of surging COVID cases. Vivid Seats refuses her request for a refund. Is there a way to get her money back?

I'm trying to cancel tickets to a Dave Chappelle and Joe Rogan show in New Orleans that I bought through Vivid Seats. At the time of the show, there were too many COVID-19 cases and I didn't want to risk attending the show.

When I called Vivid Seats, they were experiencing "high call volume," so I tried contacting the company via email. I received an automatic response that an agent would respond to my email inquiry within 24 hours. After two business days without any response from them, I contacted Vivid Seats via chat and they advised me the only way I can receive a refund if the event has been canceled or postponed.

I informed them the numbers are extremely high in that state and that I am not willing to risk my health for any event. A representative advised me there is nothing they can do regarding this matter due to the cancellation policy. I told them I had cancellation insurance in case I couldn't make it to the event because of COVID-19-related circumstances. Vivid Seats told me to contact my insurance company. I could not reach someone at the insurance company, so I contacted Chase and filed a chargeback and received a temporary credit. I lost the credit card dispute.

On Sept. 2, two days before the event, I received an email stating the show had been postponed to October. I just want a full refund. I couldn't make it to this event because of a scheduling conflict. I am extremely disappointed in the way Vivid Seats has handled this. Can you help me get a refund of $526 for my tickets?

Tricia Lewis, New York

I think you deserved a full refund for your tickets. But your case was a little complicated. Let's see if we can simplify.

First, I think you were correct about canceling your tickets. At the time of the show, COVID cases in New Orleans were soaring, and even if you were fully vaccinated, this was no time to attend a large public event.

Calling Vivid Seats was a mistake for two reasons. First, concerts were being canceled left and right and the company was probably overwhelmed with calls from customers. And second -- and more important -- you wouldn't have had any proof of your conversation. An email or online chat, as you later discovered, gave you the paper trail you needed. A reliable paper trail is a key to solving any consumer problem.

If you had cancellation insurance, you should have been able to file a claim. It looks like you decided to pivot to a credit card dispute quickly. You can file a credit card dispute under the Fair Credit Billing Act, but it has to be for the right reasons. Unfortunately, your cancellation didn't meet the criteria.

I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Vivid Seats executives on my consumer advocacy site. A brief, polite email may have changed the outcome of your case. But not after you filed a credit card dispute. The dispute is considered a nuclear option, and once a company has won, it will typically ignore you. But I think you have a stronger case now that the concert has been canceled, regardless of your unsuccessful dispute.

I contacted Vivid Seats on your behalf. It reviewed your case and refunded your tickets as a goodwill gesture.

Christopher Elliott is the chief advocacy officer for Elliott Advocacy. Email him at [email protected] or get help with any consumer problem by contacting him at

© 2022 Christopher Elliott.


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