ACE Comic Con Sues Ticket Seller for Stealing Refunds After Coronavirus Cancellation

ACE Comic Con is suing a ticket seller for stealing refunds after coronavirus cancellation. ACE is accusing GrowTix, a company that provides the software facilitating ticket sales, of “stealing millions of dollars” in customer refunds. The Hollywood Reporter details that the company paid GrowTix $680,000 for the refund process, which was met by the software provider saying the refund process no longer worked. Now, ACE is suing for breach of contract and fraud as a result of this stand-off.

The complaint describes GrowTix as agreeing to compensation based on a percentage of sales. ACE is also banking on the fact that there was a force majeure provision, this allegedly excuses performance when parties are providing their services by reasons of “governmental action or an “act of God.” This is just one of the many ways that the coronavirus pandemic has completely turned the entire world on its head. The refund process should be quick and relatively painless, but with so much on the line, things can get strange very fast.

"The Parties agreed that all customers would receive a full refund within 30 days of ACE’s notice to fans that ACE Northeast had been shut down," the complaint reads. "In reliance upon the Refund Agreement, 1) ACE funded the $680,000 for GrowTix to use for refunding customers and, 2) ACE made an announcement, on March 11, 2020, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that all customers would receive full refunds after the government shut down of the event in response to the coronavirus."

Shortly after that initial complaint, ACE got a letter from GrowTix's corporate parent Patron Technologies and their chief. They were "advising it that it was not only withholding the money transferred to it for refunds, but was also demanding more money from ACE in regards to its own fees."

Patron vice president of marketing Doug Lyons tells a different tale about the transaction.

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"After repeated attempts to find a fair method to help ACE pay out refunds to their customers over time from the funds ACE were already paid and to allow them to manage their cash flow in the process, it became clear that ACE had no intention of willingly supplying the funds Growtix had passed along to them in order to compensate ACE's customers," Lyons explained. "Therefore, in order to attempt to help the fans receive their refunds in the time frame ACE had promised them, and as per the specific terms in the contract between the two entities, Growtix made requests to transfer the remaining money... from ACE's bank account so Growtix could process ACE's customers' refunds. Growtix followed the exact terms of the contract and was doing everything they could to help fans receive the treatment they expected and deserved."

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