For all of the would-be Coachella goers who lost money and wristbands after missing a payment on the festival's layaway plan, it's time to start checking your mailbox for a refund.
Coachella's parent company, Goldenvoice, is currently issuing checks to those affected by their former payment plan, and purchasers from as far back as 2012 have come forward with news of their refunds. Goldenvoice is reportedly reimbursing people for all of their concerts that utilized said payment plan, which would include Coachella's country counterpart, Stagecoach. The layaway plan in question stated that payments were the sole responsibility of the account holder, and if someone exceeded the ten-day grace period, all tickets and money applied would be forfeited.
Vittorio Fossati-Bellani, a Bay area father who had financed his daughter's tickets through Coachella's payment plan, experienced the policy firsthand. Months after creating an account to buy tickets through the layaway plan, his credit card was breached and he was issued a new card number without consult from his bank. Fossati-Bellani's daughter, who had been attending the festival for six years, subsequently lost out on her tickets and Fossati-Bellani lost out on several hundred dollars.
"My daughter had gotten a new email and didn't receive notice of the missed payment. We had paid $617.90 and spent countless hours on the phone with the ticketing agency. We offered to pay the balance if we were reinstated, we offered to pay penalties and still no," Fossati-Bellani says."'This is our policy' is what they said. I was surprised when we got the check, it was out of the blue...At this point we haven't lost any money but we've lost time and goodwill."
If Fossati-Bellani's story sounds familiar, it's likely because it echoes the experience of Abigail Drake, who is the catalyst behind the refunds. When Drake lost over $600 on 2015 Coachella tickets after missing a payment, she decided to take action. Despite violating the festival's strict policy on missed payments, she felt that the practice deserved a second look.
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Drake, along with her attorney Brandon Fernald, filed a class action lawsuit against Coachella, Goldenvoice, and their ticketing outlet Front Gate in late April. The complaint alleged that the festival was in violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and the Unfair Competition Law. They argued that Coachella was doubling their profits by keeping customer's forfeited funds, and then turning around and selling the same tickets at face value.
In the aftermath of the lawsuit, Coachella has updated their policy for the 2016 festival and now advises that a missed payment will result in a $50 restocking fee versus all money paid toward the tickets. Given the incoming refund checks and overhaul of the payment plan, it's safe to say Drake's efforts made an impact.
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