Earlier this month, the virtual box-office company Brown Paper Tickets missed a deadline to fully repay around $7.6 million to customers for canceled events at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Per a consent decree the company had signed with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office in March 2020, all money was to be refunded — to ticket buyers and event organizers — by Oct. 8.
By that time, most Washington state consumers had been refunded their money (around $930,000), but Brown Paper Tickets still owed out-of-state customers around $5.4 million.
On Thursday, the Attorney General’s Office filed an amended consent decree in King County Superior Court stipulating new rules to keep Brown Paper Tickets on track with its payments.
The new rules include:
- Brown Paper Tickets’ agreement to not dissolve or undertake any company reorganization that would “impair its ability to completely fulfill the terms of this amended consent decree” (in other words, pay everybody what they’re owed).
- A new schedule of graduated minimum weekly payments between Oct. 25 and Feb. 27, 2022, starting at $25,000 per week and increasing to $250,000 per week.
- The requirement that 95% of consumers be paid by Feb. 28, 2022, with 100% receiving their money “within a reasonable time period thereafter.”
- The requirement that Brown Paper Tickets pay a $70,000 fee to the Attorney General’s Office (for its time and attorneys’ fees incurred by the state) by Feb. 28, after at least 95% of customers have been reimbursed.
- An agreement that violations of terms in the consent decree (failure to pay on time, failure to submit weekly progress reports, etc.) may cost Brown Paper Tickets anywhere between $25,000 per violation and $5.4 million, depending on the nature of the violations.
“Though we are behind schedule, the team at Brown Paper Tickets, both here in the company’s Seattle headquarters and at its offices globally, remains dedicated to this process,” the company said in a statement issued through an attorney this month. “We are working hard to expedite the pace of scheduled refunds while continuing to provide the highest levels of service and real human support to the entire live events community.”