A Boca Raton-based consumer rights firm has filed a class action lawsuit against the City of Miami and Event Entertainment Group, the organizers of Ultra Music Festival.
Corwin Law is representing a class of Florida residents who purchased tickets to the 2020 edition of the iconic Miami music festival, which was scheduled to take place March 20th to 22nd at Bayfront Park.
A press release shared with EDM.com by a consultant representing the firm states that attorney Marcus W. Corwin believes the promoters of the event "disguised" its 2020 cancellation as a postponement and unfairly offered an enhanced benefits package in lieu of refunds. Corwin called the offer "utterly unacceptable."
The eight-count class action lawsuit, filed in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in Miami-Dade County, alleges that Ultra "engaged in unconscionable, unfair, and/or deceptive trade practices by advertising, offering, and promoting the festival, taking individuals’ money to attend said advertised festival, cancelling the festival, and then failing to provide ticket purchasers with the option of receiving a refund, effectively shifting all risk and costs of Ultra’s decision to cancel the Event to the consumers."
“It is totally unconscionable for the promoters to withhold refunds for two plus years, and for the City of Miami to allow it, with no guarantees that this event will be able to take place in 2022 or 2023,” Corwin said. "This is an abuse of fairness, and of accepted and proper trade practice."
While prospective attendees were able to transfer their passes to the now-canceled 2021 event or 2022 edition, legions of them publicly condemned Ultra's refusal to issue refunds while many fell prey to the pitfalls of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a lack of transparency on the status of refund requests, organizers went on to announce the dates of Ultra Miami's 2022 iteration, which is scheduled to take place March 25th to 27th at Bayfront Park.
"No one argues that the festival should have gone forward, but when it didn’t, the promoters should have refunded the money," Corwin continued. "If ticketholders want to attend the festival, if it happens, then they can decide and pay on their own terms."
Corwin Law's website claims that "unethical and greedy companies, businesses and corporations" oftentimes withhold consumers' money. The site also notes that ticket-holders have grounds to sue if they were denied a refund of "Tickets to attractions, concerts, sporting events, and other events."
Gabriella Petroka, one of the class' representatives, questioned the nature of the festival's postponement and pleaded with organizers to "do right by the consumers."
"As a loyal attendee for many years, I’m grateful to Ultra for facilitating many amazing memories, and I’m hopeful that Ultra will continue for many years to come," Ms. Petroka said. "However, I'm also hopeful that Ultra will do right by the consumers by allowing us the choice to receive refunds and decide for ourselves how to use this money, and whether or not we would like to attend future events, as I believe that is the only fair outcome here, given the unconscionable duration of this 'postponement.'"
EDM.com has reached out to Ultra Music Festival but representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.