On October 1, I bought four tickets to "Home Game 3" of the NLCS at Coors Field in Denver. Fresh from the NL Central-clinching in Cincinnati, my optimism overtook reality and I bought these tickets hoping that I would be able to attend what would have been game five (this was already known, since the Rockies were the wild card, and just as in 2003, had the Cubs advanced to the NLCS, they would have had the home field and games three, four and five would have been in Denver).
When the Cubs were eliminated I posted the tickets for sale on Stubhub. As you know, on October 15 the Rockies completed their four-game sweep of the Diamondbacks and thus, game five, which was originally scheduled to be played on October 17, was cancelled.
Stubhub told me that they were giving all buyers of this cancelled event until October 31 to return the tickets to them, and then they'd send them back to us so we could return them to the Rockies for refunds.
This began a comedy of errors. I made what seemed like dozens of (but really was only about six or seven) phone calls to Stubhub, during which I was told that my tickets had been mailed back to me by US Mail (with no tracking number, which would be very out of character for Stubhub, which sends almost everything via FedEx); didn't get my phone calls returned, and so I wound up patiently waiting for my mail to arrive every day for three weeks, only to not have any tickets arrive.
Finally, on November 26 I learned that the tickets were still in the possession of Stubhub. They were nice enough to send them back to the Rockies on my behalf after the too-long delay; I want to publicly thank Brad and Jackie of Stubhub for going above and beyond the call in helping me out.
Meanwhile, the Rockies are dragging their feet: it's December 10, 55 days after the event was cancelled and two weeks after they should have received the tickets, and I still don't have my money. It is beyond comprehension why the Rockies, unlike virtually every other team, don't simply credit back the credit card used to buy the tickets. They know my name, have my credit card number, know exactly which tickets I bought. Here's the convoluted system the Rockies set up for refunds, which requires:
- downloading a refund form;
- putting the tickets in an envelope, which requires paying postage to mail that envelope, and also paying employees to open said envelopes;
- determining the right amount of money (they're refunding all per-ticket fees but NOT the per-order fee) and getting a computer to generate a check;
- getting those checks into envelopes and paying lord knows how much postage to mail them, and
- trusting delivering all of those envelopes to the US Postal Service, during the holiday season when mail volume is at its peak (and in my case, to the Chicago Post Office, whose service is notoriously bad: twice in the last week, I had to call my local post office to tell them I had no mail delivery; one day they finally showed up at 7:45 pm)
Customers who purchased tickets on Oct. 4 for the NL Championship Series will automatically receive a credit on the charge card used for those tickets.
So if they can do this for the NLCS tickets, why not for the others? Obviously, the reason they did this is because no NLCS tickets were actually sent out, since the Cubs were eliminated on October 6. But if you can credit the card for those purchases, why not the others?
Same deal for the Rockies, whose postseason refund page linked above is now buried so deep in its website that you've got to go to "Tickets", then click through three or four times to find it.
More than two years ago, MLB Advanced Media bought a controlling interest in tickets.com; at the time it was widely believed that this move was an attempt to get ALL MLB teams to sell via tickets.com and have a consistent ticket selling policy. This hasn't happened, as several teams (Yankees, White Sox, Braves) still sell via Ticketmaster; but there's absolutely no reason why transactions of this nature -- postseason tickets, where there is a possibility that the game won't be played -- can't and shouldn't be automatically refunded.
The Rockies could have given me my money back on October 16 with a couple of mouse clicks. Instead, 55 days later, I'm still waiting for the refund to arrive, feeling sort of like this:
Copyright 1989, Universal Press Syndicate
So get your act together, MLB and the Rockies (and the Cubs, too). Starting in 2008, MLBAM should mandate that every team give refunds, when appropriate for a cancelled event, by crediting the credit card used to buy the tickets.