As readers of TheLead know, we love nothing more than some good ol’ corporate muckraking, so when a reader named Jesse Sandler emailed us with a story that sounded too bizarre to be true – namely that he brilliantly bought four tickets to the Lakers’ last home game (in April against the Jazz) 18 days before Kobe announced his retirement, and a little over a month later, when the price of the tickets had appreciated almost 1000%, StubHub voided the purchase because he bought the tickets for too low of a price – we were excited for the possibility to highlight and (hopefully) rewrite the injustice.
After a little back and forth, Jesse sent us an incredible email that recounted the entire story in his own words and provided all the evidence we could ever ask for: his entire email chain with StubHub customer service, ticket receipts, a semi-incriminating voicemail from a FlubHub supervisor, you name it.
Below, Jesse details his fiasco, and convinces us to never, ever, ever purchase tickets on StubHub again. At the end of this piece (if you’re compelled to do so), we ask that you share Jesse’s story on social media, and force StubChub to issue a statement and honor Mr. Sandler’s original purchase. What they did is complete bullshit, and the online ticketing giant deserves a PR nightmare…
Without further ado, Jesse’s story:
ON NOVEMBER 11, 2015 (18 DAYS BEFORE KOBE ANNOUNCED HIS RETIREMENT), I BOUGHT 4 TICKETS TO THE APRIL 13, 2016 LAKERS—JAZZ GAME WITH THE THOUGHT THAT IT MIGHT BE KOBE’S LAST GAME IN THE NBA. THE TOTAL FOR THE FOUR TICKETS (PLUS TAXES AND FEES) WAS $906.77. AFTER I BOUGHT THE TICKETS, I SENT THIS EMAIL TO MY FRIENDS:
I just bought 4 tix for the Lakers-Jazz game on April 13, 2016. It could possibly be Kobe’s last game at home, so I wanted to go and see that shit. You guys interested?
CLEARLY, MY FRIENDS ALL BEING ENORMOUS LAKERS/KOBE FANS SAID “YES!” HERE’S A SCREENSHOT OF THE CONFIRMATION AND THE CONFIRMATION NUMBER:
WE WERE PUMPED! THEN, ON NOVEMBER 29, KOBE ANNOUNCED HIS RETIREMENT AND COMPARABLE SEATS IN SECTION 106 WENT FROM $195 A TICKET TO NEARLY $1500 A TICKET:
PRETTY SOLID INVESTMENT, RIGHT? THE TICKETS I PAID $900 FOR WERE NOW RETAILING FOR ABOUT $6,000. EVERYONE WAS TELLING ME TO FLIP THEM AND TAKE THE CASH, BUT I HAD ZERO DESIRE TO DO SO. I’VE ALWAYS BEEN A HUGE LAKERS FAN AND A HUGE KOBE FAN…WATCHING KOBE PLAY BASKETBALL HAS BEEN A HUGE PART OF MY LIFE SINCE THE 6TH GRADE, AND I WASN’T ABOUT TO MISS HISTORY…
THAT’S WHEN EVERYTHING FELL APART AND STUBHUB SCREWED ME OVER IN A MANNER I STILL FIND INCOMPREHENSIBLE. A LITTLE OVER TWO WEEKS AFTER KOBE MADE HIS ANNOUNCEMENT, AND OVER A MONTH SINCE I HAD BOUGHT AND BECAME THE RIGHTFUL OWNER OF MY TICKETS, I RECEIVED THIS TYPO-FILLED EMAIL FROM THE WORLD’S WORST TICKETING COMPANY:
UMMMM…WHAT???? I GAVE THE SELLER AMERICAN CURRENCY, HE OR SHE GAVE ME THE LAKERS TICKETS, END OF TRANSACTION. AND NOW STUBHUB’S TELLING ME THAT THEY ARE TAKING AWAY THE TICKETS OVER A MONTH LATER BECAUSE…THE PRICE WENT UP? WHAT KIND OF MARKETPLACE IS THIS?! AFTER AN HOUR+ OF CONVULSING IN ANGER, I SENT STUBHUB THIS EMAIL (IT JUST CONVEYS MY FRUSTRATION, SO FEEL FREE TO SKIP OVER):
A FEW HOURS LATER, THE A**HOLES AT STUBHUB SENT THIS:
THE NEXT DAY, THEY *PERSONALLY* REPLIED TO MY EMAIL WITH THIS:
I LOVE HOW THEY END THE EMAIL: “THANKS FOR USING STUBHUB!” IF THERE’S ANYTHING I CAN CONVEY AFTER THIS EXPERIENCE, IT’S THAT IF THERE’S A BEATLES CONCERT AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL WHERE THEY BRING BACK GEORGE AND JOHN FROM THE DEAD AND OPEN WITH TUPAC, I’M STILL NOT BUYING THOSE TICKETS IF THEY’RE ONLY ON STUBHUB.
I CALLED FLUBHUB’S CUSTOMER SERVICE AND WAS GIVEN THE RUN-AROUND YOU’D EXPECT. I SPOKE WITH MULTIPLE REPRESENTATIVES AND NOBODY COULD DO ANYTHING TO HELP – ONE PERSON SAID, “OUR HANDS ARE TIED.” THEY WERE APOLOGETIC, AND THEN GAVE ME ANOTHER $100 COUPON (GEE, THANKS), BUT IN THE END I WAS NOWHERE REMOTELY CLOSE TO A SATISFACTORY SOLUTION..
SO I CALLED AND CALLED AND WAITED ON HOLD WITH THE STUBHUB CUSTOMER SERVICE LINE FOR HOURS. I ENDED UP TALKING WITH A WOMAN WHO SAID THAT I COULD SPEAK WITH A “HIGHER UP,” SO I WAITED SOME MORE UNTIL THAT WOMAN RETURNED TO TELL ME THAT I’D BE GETTING A CALL BACK WITHIN 24 HOURS. DURING ONE OF THESE CALLS, THEY THREW IN ANOTHER $50 STUBHUB COUPON. ONCE AGAIN, THEY SAID THAT’S ALL THEY COULD DO.
ON THE EVENING OF THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, I GOT THE VOICEMAIL I SENT [TO THELEADSPORTS] FROM A REP AT STUBHUB.
ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2015 I CALLED BACK AND TALKED TO ANOTHER “SUPERVISOR” GUY AND ASKED IF THERE WAS ANYTHING MORE THAT THEY COULD DO, BECAUSE $906.77 IN STUBHUB CREDIT (PLUS THE $250 THEY GAVE ME AS A RESULT OF MY PREVIOUS PERSISTENCE) DIDN’T EVEN AMOUNT TO ONE OF MY KOBE’S RETIREMENT TICKETS. NOT SURPRISINGLY, THE GUY SAID HIS “HANDS WERE TIED” AND THERE WAS “NOTHING MORE HE COULD DO.”
SO IN THE END, I HAD ABOUT $1100 IN CREDIT FOR SERVICES FROM A WEBSITE I NOW DEEMED CORRUPT, STILL $400 SHORT OF THE COST OF ONE OF MY PREVIOUS TICKETS. OH, AND I CAN’T AFFORD TO GO TO THE GAME THAT I COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE F***ING EXCITED ABOUT BECAUSE I BOUGHT THE TICKETS AT THE EXACT RIGHT TIME.
AFTER CONTINUING TO BOMBARD THE SUPERVISOR WITH “HOW ON EARTH CAN THIS HAPPEN?” QUESTIONS, THE TRUTH WAS REVEALED: HE SAID THAT TYPICALLY STUBHUB CHARGES THE SELLER 20% OF THE ORIGINAL SALE PRICE OF THE TICKETS FOR NOT FULFILLING AN ORDER, AND THAT THE SELLER “COULD” BE BANNED FROM SELLING ON THEIR SITE FOR A “NUMBER OF MONTHS.” IN OTHER WORDS, STUBHUB’S OFFICIAL POLICY INCENTIVIZES SELLERS TO RENEGE WHEN PRICES GO UP MORE THAN 20%.
IN MY CASE, WHERE THE TICKETS APPRECIATED ALMOST 1000% AFTER I BOUGHT THEM, IT’S IN THE SELLER’S BEST INTEREST TO COP OUT. THIS IS A SYSTEM THAT ALLOWS AN ARDENT KOBE FAN TO BUY FOUR TICKETS FOR HIM AND HIS FRIENDS TO THE MAMBA’S FINAL HURRAH, ONLY TO HAVE THOSE TICKETS DISAPPEAR OVER A MONTH LATER DESPITE A SUBSTANTIAL ($906.77) FINANCIAL COMMITMENT. IT ALSO MEANS THAT NO TICKETS YOU EVER BUY ON STUBHUB – EVER –ARE ACTUALLY YOUR TICKETS. THE SELLER CAN JUST CHANGE HIS MIND AT ANY TIME AND TAKE THEM BACK. THIS MAKES NO SENSE AND REVEALS THEIR ENTIRE OPERATION AS A COMPLETE SHAM.
I’M SURE OTHERS OUT THERE HAVE SIMILAR STORIES, AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW…YOU’RE NOT ALONE. I HAD THE INCREDIBLE, ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY TO WATCH MY FAVORITE ATHLETE SAY GOODBYE TO THE GAME HE’S MADE SO INCREDIBLY SPECIAL FOR ME – AND ALL LAKERS FANS – FOR 20 HISTORIC SEASONS, AND I’LL NEVER GET TO EXPERIENCE THAT, AN EVENT I PAID FOR WITH MY OWN, HARD-EARNED MONEY, BECAUSE STUBHUB IS AN ABSOLUTE JOKE OF A COMPANY. ALL I’M ASKING IS THAT IF THIS STORY RESONATES WITH YOU, PLEASE SHARE IT WITH FRIENDS. THIS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. AND, KOBE: I’LL BE SITTING ON MY COUCH, SHOUTING LOUDLY, WEARING A #24 JERSEY OVER A #8 JERSEY, WHILE SOFTLY DABBING MY TEARS WITH A #33 LOWER MERION JERSEY. IT’S BEEN A PLEASURE, MY FRIEND. YOU’RE THE MAN.
There you have it. During the hours he spent dealing with the online ticketing giant, a StubHub employee told Jesse “this same thing” happened when Derek Jeter announced his retirement – an obvious testament to the fact they knew there was a hole in the system, and did nothing to fix it.
If you’re a Lakers fan, or just a fan of “standing up to the man,” share Jesse’s story with your friends, and force StubHub to answer for their corporate bamboozlement…