Don’t send back that phone or return merchandise by mail, UPS or Fedex until you’ve read this.

Personally, I blame the companies.

They send you an “easy” return label and tell you to just “drop it in the mailbox” or “drop it off at the mailing center.”

You wait expectantly for your credit. And wait, and wait, and wait. Eventually you call. You’re told that they never got it, have no record of it, and by the way, you’re on the hook for the full cost. has handled quite a lot of complaints about returns that apparently weren’t received or properly logged. The worst and highest dollar complaints are filed by people who’ve obediently followed instructions to return malfunctioning phones to cell phone companies or cell phone warranty companies. Returns of satellite and cable boxes, and of course clothing and other mail order purchases, run a close second.’s advice: never, EVER just drop it off—in a mailbox or elsewhere. Always copy the return label and tracking number. No copier? Take a picture with your cell phone and email it to yourself as a back-up.

Then walk the item into the post office or mailing center and ask to get the item scanned in, preferably with a receipt for you. Post offices often have someone available just to scan in prepaid packages at busy times, so you may not even have to wait in line. Again, take a quick picture of the receipt and email it to yourself for your records.

Don’t want to spend the time? Well, would you rather owe an extra $800 to the phone company?

And remember, if you have a dispute about anything, anywhere on your lengthy “To Do” list — take a look at what can offer.

Dec 2016

As Ticket Reseller ScoreBig Implodes, Here’s What Consumers Need to Know About the Pitfalls of Buying Tickets on the Secondary Market

The meltdown of ticket bidding platform ScoreBig, and the subsequent reality check for fans, is no doubt gladdening quite a few hearts. Elton John, Adele, Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Church, Mumford & Sons, and many other music stars have all spoken out about ticket resellers and the secondary ticket market—which they feel gouge their fans.

Last December, Elton John called the practice of ticket re-selling “disgraceful” and begged his fans not to pay the prices being asked by unauthorized ticket reseller sites.

“I’d rather have empty seats,” Sir Elton told the BBC. “The fact they’re willing to pay that is fantastic. But I’d rather they’d save their money and not come.”

ScoreBig’s Priceline-like bidding system and partnerships with authorized sellers trying to quietly fill up empty seats meant that consumers could actually have spent less.

But the would-be concert-goers who contacted PeopleClaim recently were facing the same worries that any ticket-buyer faces after buying on the unauthorized secondary market: would their tickets be honored? Should they spend time and money travelling to the venue? What recourse did they have if the tickets were never delivered or cancelled, many months after purchase? gets quite a few complaints about ticket resellers and “online scalpers.” Here’s what you need to know.

Is ticket reselling/scalping illegal? Is it illegal to sell concert tickets for more than face value?

Here in the US there’s currently no federal law against secondary ticket markets or “scalping,” but some states and municipalities ban it outright and others regulate it—for instance, the re-seller may need to be licensed and maintain a toll-free number for complaints. Or s/he may not be allowed to sell any ticket within a certain distance from the venue. Other states with outdated or non-existent laws presumably see ticket reselling as ordinary commerce: buying something at one price and selling it to a willing buyer at a higher price.

But scrutiny of ticket-brokering is ramping up in some states. New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, for instance, has been cracking down on illegal practices such as using bot buyers, and is looking hard at ways to protect ordinary fans who can’t get a fair chance at buying tickets at face value.

We could debate the ethics of the practice until the cows come home—there are good arguments on both sides—but we’d rather help you make an informed choice in the real world.

Problem: The concert was cancelled, or my tickets were cancelled. I want a refund!

If you want to know about the risks, ask the ScoreBig customers who turned up for a Beyoncé concert in New Orleans only to find out that angry unpaid ticket brokers had cancelled their tickets.

Will the resellers—who presumably then sold the tickets through a different market—give refunds? Tricky question. Since ScoreBig’s platform hides the identity of the seller, buyers won’t know until the dust settles. And their financial institution might not be able to help under some circumstances.

If a concert is cancelled or rescheduled, most venues and authorized sellers will only give refunds or replacement tickets to the ticket holder of record. If you buy via an unauthorized secondary market, the risk is all yours.

Say you bought vastly expensive seats for a concert that was rescheduled due to the singer’s illness. You’ll be at a conference in Australia on the new date. You don’t get to choose whether you get a refund or a new ticket; the ‘ticket holder of record’ does. And guess which they’re going to choose?

Solution: If you’re risk-averse, just don’t ever buy from an unauthorized seller.

Problem: “I thought I was on the box-office website and I paid way too much.”

OK, this one’s easy. You searched (on Google, Chrome, Foxfire, whatever) for “Swan Lake at XYZ arena,” and then you clicked blindly on the first search result without checking a thing. Um … what were you thinking? You don’t walk into Burger King, order and consume a burger, and then ask for your money back because you thought it was McDonalds.

Solution: Read the ‘sign’—AKA the website URL and name on the site. Search the name of the venue and make sure that you’re on the venue’s site. Then link from there to the official ticket sales site…which might be the venue’s own box office or a well-known site like TicketMaster.

Problem: The ticket resale site advertised that it was selling event tickets for a lower price. It wasn’t.

Solution: Check the verified box office for ticket face values first. One of Elton John’s complaints was that tickets weren’t even sold out on the official sites, but gullible people were buying from third party resellers at hugely inflated prices. Never assume that tickets to see a well-known performer will be sold out. Once you know the face value, quickly check the re-seller sites. Sometimes you CAN get a lower price.

Problem: Your ticket turns out to be counterfeit and you can’t get into the venue.

Solution: Buy only from reputable sellers and resellers with verified mailing addresses (see here for some tips on detecting scams). If you buy from a scalper outside the venue or from a CraigsList ad – well, good luck, buddy.

Problem: You can’t attend the concert (or maybe you found cheaper tickets) and now you want to return the tickets for the price you paid.

Solution: Read the Terms and Conditions (also called Terms of Service, or just Terms) and know exactly what your rights and responsibilities are, BEFORE you click ‘buy.’ In most cases, even legitimate sellers won’t take returns. So now YOU need to use one of the reselling platforms. The blurred lines between professional ticket brokers and genuine fans are one of the reasons ticket reselling sites may never become illegal.

Problem: Wait—I paid HOW MUCH?

Solution: There will be a service charge, and maybe delivery/shipping fees, and some of those fees are astronomical. (Some ‘no service charge’ sites will simply mark up the cost of the tickets to cover those costs, so you should also be alert for that.) In the excitement of scoring that Super Bowl ticket, you may not notice until after you’ve hit that big green BUY NOW button. Know what you’re going to have to pay before you’ve paid it.

Even if you do everything right, sometimes you’ll have a legitimate complaint. Fraud, false advertising, lack of transparency and unethical practices can trip up even the most well-informed consumer. That’s when you file a complaint. is here to help with all your common consumer complaints, including complaints about ticket re-sellers and scalpers.

Oct 2016

Do you want to complain about a complaint, or resolve a complaint?

Yesterday we received a very angry stream of messages from someone who couldn’t understand why they’d need to create a free account in order to file and resolve a complaint.

“Don’t you want to resolve the problem?” we asked. “How can they contact you to resolve your complaint if you won’t provide contact information?”

The response was straightforward.

“I don’t expect them to resolve my complaint,” messaged the would-be complainant. “I just want to register a complaint about their rudeness.”

Sorry, you’re on the wrong site.

We here at have never seen the point in venting and moaning. Sure, we may do it over the breakfast table with our spouses, or over lunch with our best buddies. But if we have a real problem? We just want to fix it. And we want the company to know what they did wrong, and how they can resolve the problem and keep us as customers.

That’s why, when you file a PeopleClaim, you need to say what you want to make things right—even if it’s just an apology.

Every business and professional makes a mistake now and then. It’s called being human. Sometimes a product is faulty, sometimes customer service is unresponsive, sometimes they just…blew it. And sometimes the customer is wrong—yes, customers can certainly be wrong—and the responding party needs to explain a policy or repair the claimant didn’t understand.

So we’re going to deliver your complaint to the company or professional, or to the individual who owes you money (even by certified mail if you want us to) and we’re going to give them the means to respond to you through our system, and hopefully resolve the problem.

A lawyer, for instance, might send a counter-offer to their client: “Cannot return entire retainer. Will return remainder of retainer after deduction of $150 for letter sent on your behalf; $850, check mailed today. Please close claim on receipt.”

The claim that amazed us was made by a customer of a very large credit card company. She just couldn’t get a comprehensible answer about a charge, no matter how hard she tried. We delivered her complaint to the president’s office and they called and explained the charge. Problem solved, for both parties, and hopefully the credit card company learned something about customer service.

Venting online may relieve your stress, but it rarely fixes the problem. That doesn’t seem very constructive to us.




May 2016