Brown Paper Tickets faces
court actions in Seattle
Brown Paper Tickets has been in serious trouble since March, beset by complaints that it owes artists money. Now the Seattle-based company is being taken to court.
In August, attorneys in Seattle filed two legal actions against the ticket broker in King County Superior Court: one on behalf of ticket buyers (a class-action complaint requesting a jury trial), the other on behalf of 16 event producers (petitioning the court to appoint a general receiver to seize BPT’s assets).
Ticket buyers say they purchased tickets through BPT’s website but were unable to use them due to COVID-related event postponements or cancellations, and BPT has not refunded them. Event producers say in their court petition they are each a “small performing arts group, community cultural group or entertainer” that entered into an agreement for BPT to sell tickets to their events, and that BPT’s “failure to pay the ticket proceeds to them has caused severe financial hardship and continuing potentially irreparable damage.”
Neither Brown Paper Tickets nor the law firms filing the complaints, nor the Washington state Attorney General’s Office, which has been looking into complaints about BPT, immediately responded to requests for comment.
For 20 years, the Seattle company acted as a virtual box office that helped theaters, musicians and community groups around the country and the world — sell their tickets. Its relatively modest service fees ($0.99 plus 5% of each ticket) made it a popular ticket broker for small- to mid-sized theaters and community organizations.
When coronavirus hit and events of all kinds were suddenly suspended, BPT said it was unable to immediately refund money, not to customers or to event producers whose events were canceled.