National ticketing platform accused of withholding profits from Philadelphia event organizers

Briana Smith Image
Saturday, January 13, 2024
Ticket company accused of holding profits from local event organizers
Brown Paper Tickets accused of withholding profits from Philadelphia event organizers

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A national online ticketing platform is being accused of withholding profits from several Philadelphia area artists and event organizers.

Now they are fighting to get the money they say they are owed from Brown Paper Tickets.

"I trusted the platform (Brown Paper Tickets) like many did in my shoes and thought they would have my back, but unfortunately they did not," said Bianca Crespo, owner of Santa Mira Studio in Kensington.

Crespo is just one of thousands of event organizers who didn't receive their revenue from Brown Paper Tickets for more than a year.

The Seattle-based company is a low-cost ticketing service that caters to small organizations like community theaters and nonprofits to sell their event tickets.

"It can be discouraging to artists," said Crespo. "We're all independent artists, and it makes me sad that this has happened to us, and we still don't have any answers."

Crespo said the company owed her more than $7,000 from her ballet "The Governess" in October 2022. She said after making countless calls and emails and receiving no response from the company, she contacted Action News for assistance.

Crespo said that's when Brown Paper Tickets emailed her about her payment, and she finally saw it in her bank account a few days later on January 10.

However, many others are still waiting.

Chris Davis, of Point Breeze, said the company owes him more than $1,600 from his One-Man Nutcracker performance in 2020.

"I used to swear by them to be honest because they had really low fees. But after this, I swear at them now because they haven't paid me," said Davis.

It's a problem people are facing here in Philadelphia and nationwide.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office said it has received 33 complaints about Brown Paper Tickets but did not disclose the specific issues.

The Washington Attorney General's Office sued the company in 2020, and they agreed to pay about $9 million to 45,000 event organizers and ticket buyers.

After the lawsuit, the Washington AG's office said they received more than 500 complaints since March 2021.

Crespo said she compiled her own list:

"At least 21 victims and the total owed is $122,513.27," said Crespo.

Action News gathered more complaints on the "Stiffed by Brown Paper Tickets" Facebook page with nearly 1,000 members.

More than 35 people from Pennsylvania to California said they're out thousands of dollars.

In 2022,, an event management platform, acquired Brown Paper Tickets.

A company leader said he requested a report from Brown Paper Tickets to confirm these complaints and their scheduled payment dates.

"I feel like because we're such hardworking people to begin with, nothing is going to stop us from finding out the truth," said Crespo. said Brown Paper Tickets was hit hard by the pandemic, and it's focused on providing the resources Brown Paper Tickets needs to finish paying customers.

As they complete their final acquisition phase, they say they have already paid more than $42 million to organizers, and by contract, they're required to fully pay any outstanding claims.

Brown Paper Tickets said in a press release, "Any remaining impacted event organizers will receive final payments between January 25 and March 31, 2024."

"We could maybe move on from this, and they could build a better reputation if they have a little bit more communication," said Crespo.

"I hope they rectify this and make what was wrong, right again," said Davis. "I'm still hopeful, but regardless I want to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else."

An company leader said Brown Paper Tickets will re-launch its live phone support but is expected to after the final phase of the acquisition, which is March 31.

He said customers will receive an email with information. Make sure to check your spam folder.

Also, requires all events using Brown Paper Tickets after August 1 to be part of the Secured Funds Program, and they will automatically receive their funds within 10 days after the event.

The Pennsylvania AG's Office said if you are impacted by Brown Paper Tickets, file a claim online at