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Oct. 31, 2020

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Washington state sues box office company Brown Paper Tickets

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SEATTLE — Washington state’s attorney general has sued a Seattle-based virtual box office company, alleging Brown Paper Tickets owes nearly $7 million to artists and ticket buyers.

The state’s lawsuit filed Wednesday says Brown Paper Tickets owes $6 million to event producers and $760,000 in refunds to those who bought tickets to events that were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office is asking that the court order restitution payments to all aggrieved parties and to fine Brown Paper Tickets up to $2,000 per infraction of the Consumer Protection Act.

The lawsuit was filed after 16 event producers and multiple ticket buyers filed separate lawsuits earlier this month.

“The State alleges that Brown Paper Tickets engaged in unfair or deceptive acts or practices in violation of the Consumer Protection Act,” the state’s complaint says. “Brown Paper Tickets had failed to remit payment to event organizers for events that took place and has failed to provide refunds to ticket buyers who purchased tickets for cancelled or rescheduled events.”

Representatives for Brown Paper Tickets could not be immediately reached by the Seattle Times.

The state said it has received nearly 600 consumer complaints from around the country about the company.

Brown Paper Tickets President William Jordan said in March the company had lost control of its cash flow and had to shut down outgoing payments to everyone.

“We lost control over which payments were able to clear and which weren’t,” Jordan said. “And we managed to piss off everybody.”

Founded in 2000, Brown Paper Tickets was once one of the area’s most popular ticket brokers for small- to mid-sized theaters and community organizations because of its lower service fees, the Times reported.

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