Consumers’ Research will honor General Brnovich for prioritizing consumers during COVID-19 pandemic
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s Office (AGO) will receive the Consumers’ Champion Award for the first-in-the-nation settlement with Ticketmaster that returned more than $71 million in refunds for consumers who purchased tickets to Arizona live events that were canceled, postponed, or rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The award will be presented by the nation’s oldest consumer protection organization, Consumers’ Research.
“Consumer protection is a core function of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, and it has never been a higher priority than for our talented, dedicated, and tireless team,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “We are honored to receive this prestigious award and proud of our unwavering service to consumers during the pandemic.”
Ticketmaster Settlement Background
Today’s award stems from the AGO’s investigation into Ticketmaster. The AGO asserted that prior to March 14, 2020, Ticketmaster’s online FAQs promised at the time of sale to automatically make refunds available for canceled, postponed, or rescheduled events within 7-10 business days. However, as of March 14, 2020, Ticketmaster updated its website to say the company would only issue refunds automatically for canceled events and Ticketmaster allowed Event Organizers (promoters, artists, or venues) to set refund limitations on postponed or rescheduled events.
Through good-faith negotiations, the AGO secured an agreement with Ticketmaster to return over $71 million in refunds for consumers for 650 Arizona events that were canceled, postponed, or rescheduled due to COVID-19 in October 2020.
Civil Litigation Division Chief Counsel Joseph Sciarrotta, Senior Litigation Counsel Rebecca Salisbury, and Consumer Protection Litigation Unit Chief Matthew du Mée handled this case.
Record AGO Consumer Protection Recoveries
Since General Brnovich took office in 2015, the AGO has obtained significant consumer protection civil penalties and secured well over $200 million in restitution and other forms of relief for Arizona consumers. The unprecedented restitution amount more than doubles the total restitution awards secured by the AGO for 2000-2014 combined. Recent significant settlements led by the AGO include:
- $25 million consent agreement with Arizona Public Service (APS), including $24 million in consumer restitution for over 225,000 consumers. This unprecedented consumer protection investigation of a public utility resolved claims that APS failed to provide adequate information to consumers regarding their most economical rate plans.
- $113 million global multistate settlement arising from Apple secretly throttling the performance of its iPhones.
- $13.3 million consent judgment as part of a multistate settlement with consulting firm McKinsey & Company, resolving an investigation into the company’s profiting from the opioid epidemic through its opioid consulting work that facilitated those opioid companies’ promotion of their drugs.
- $14.5 million consent judgment with comprehensive injunctive terms against vaping giant JUUL.
- $5 million settlement with Honda over defective Takata Airbags.
More examples of the AGO’s historic recoveries can be found here.
About Consumers’ Research
Founded in 1929, Consumers’ Research is an independent educational 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its near century-old mission is to increase the knowledge and understanding of issues, policies, products, and services of concern to consumers and to promote the freedom to act on that knowledge and understanding. Consumers’ Research frequently comments on the effects that laws, regulations, and government programs have on consumers. For more information visit: http://consumersresearch.org.