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My Amex Dispute with the Marlins


FRZfishfan
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Here is a letter that I submitted to American Express in support of my dispute to get a refund for my season ticket.

 

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To: American Express, Merchant Disputes Department

From:

Re: Case #

Attn:

Via Fax:

 

Dear Sir or Madam:

 

This letter is reference to my dispute with the Florida Marlins for charges that amount to $851.09.

 

The disputed charges are for a season ticket account with the Florida Marlins Baseball Club. I have been a season ticket holder for 3 seasons (2003, 2004, 2005). Toward the end of the 2005 season all season ticket holders received a solicitation to renew their accounts for the 2006 season. The solicitation was combined with an offer to purchase playoff tickets for the 2005 season (if the Marlins were to qualify for the playoffs). In other words, a season ticket holder could not purchase playoff tickets for 2005 unless he/she committed to renewing for 2006. The Marlins did not make the playoffs in 2005 and all monies paid for those tickets were refunded. This is normal procedure for sports franchises. What happened next is not.

 

In November of 2005 the team began trading away the vast majority of its everyday players in an effort to cut the teams operating costs. The president of the Marlins, David Samson, called this a ?market correction.? He announced that from that day forward the club?s payroll would have to be in line with its revenues and that the club could no longer afford to take operating losses.

 

Some roster turnover is expected from year to year on any professional sports team but what the Marlins are doing is far different than what usually goes on between seasons. There is no way to verify the veracity of Mr. Samson?s statements about the club losing money in previous years since the team has never opened it?s books to anyone for inspection. After 3 seasons of fielding a competitive club with a salary figure that was neither considered low nor high in Major League Baseball, the Marlins are expected to have the lowest payroll in the Major Leagues in 2006.

 

I understand that the club has to make difficult financial decisions based on the reality of the marketplace but so do the fans. I believe Marlins season ticket holders are victims of the old fashioned ?bait and switch?. We were shown one product in 2005, asked to purchase it and when we committed, they changed the product drastically. The team has been adamant about not giving refunds to season ticket holders. Beyond the inferior on-field product that will be a result of slashing 2/3 of the payroll, the Marlins announced that they would be seeking a new market to move the ball club to.

 

When a sports fan purchases season tickets he/she is not only buying tickets to an event, he/she is expressing an allegiance to the team. That allegiance is based on mutual respect. When the Marlins announced that they might be leaving and that they were slashing payroll and disrespected their best customers by not offering an opportunity to cancel their ticket plans, they severed that allegiance.

 

I am submitting several documents in the form of newspaper articles that support my argument. The purpose of these articles is to emphasize the veracity of my claims. The national media has been covering this story thoroughly and I could literally send you hundreds of articles from different publications about the team?s recent decisions that are not flattering to the ball club.

 

My understanding is that American Express wants its members to be completely satisfied with purchases made from its merchants. That is why I am disputing these charges. I am not satisfied with my purchase because what I will be receiving in exchange for my money does not in any way resemble what was represented to me as the product.

 

For the record the charges in dispute are below. There were 4 charges because the purchase was made on a payment plan.

 

8/29/05 $224.95

10/1/05 $200.59

11/1/05 $212.78

12/1/05 $212.77

Total: $851.09

 

Most sincerely,

 

 

NAME OMITTED for Privacy

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Here is a letter that I submitted to American Express in support of my dispute to get a refund for my season ticket.

 

-----------

 

To: American Express, Merchant Disputes Department

From:

Re: Case #

Attn:

Via Fax:

 

Dear Sir or Madam:

 

This letter is reference to my dispute with the Florida Marlins for charges that amount to $851.09.

 

The disputed charges are for a season ticket account with the Florida Marlins Baseball Club. I have been a season ticket holder for 3 seasons (2003, 2004, 2005). Toward the end of the 2005 season all season ticket holders received a solicitation to renew their accounts for the 2006 season. The solicitation was combined with an offer to purchase playoff tickets for the 2005 season (if the Marlins were to qualify for the playoffs). In other words, a season ticket holder could not purchase playoff tickets for 2005 unless he/she committed to renewing for 2006. The Marlins did not make the playoffs in 2005 and all monies paid for those tickets were refunded. This is normal procedure for sports franchises. What happened next is not.

 

In November of 2005 the team began trading away the vast majority of its everyday players in an effort to cut the teams operating costs. The president of the Marlins, David Samson, called this a ?market correction.? He announced that from that day forward the club?s payroll would have to be in line with its revenues and that the club could no longer afford to take operating losses.

 

Some roster turnover is expected from year to year on any professional sports team but what the Marlins are doing is far different than what usually goes on between seasons. There is no way to verify the veracity of Mr. Samson?s statements about the club losing money in previous years since the team has never opened it?s books to anyone for inspection. After 3 seasons of fielding a competitive club with a salary figure that was neither considered low nor high in Major League Baseball, the Marlins are expected to have the lowest payroll in the Major Leagues in 2006.

 

I understand that the club has to make difficult financial decisions based on the reality of the marketplace but so do the fans. I believe Marlins season ticket holders are victims of the old fashioned ?bait and switch?. We were shown one product in 2005, asked to purchase it and when we committed, they changed the product drastically. The team has been adamant about not giving refunds to season ticket holders. Beyond the inferior on-field product that will be a result of slashing 2/3 of the payroll, the Marlins announced that they would be seeking a new market to move the ball club to.

 

When a sports fan purchases season tickets he/she is not only buying tickets to an event, he/she is expressing an allegiance to the team. That allegiance is based on mutual respect. When the Marlins announced that they might be leaving and that they were slashing payroll and disrespected their best customers by not offering an opportunity to cancel their ticket plans, they severed that allegiance.

 

I am submitting several documents in the form of newspaper articles that support my argument. The purpose of these articles is to emphasize the veracity of my claims. The national media has been covering this story thoroughly and I could literally send you hundreds of articles from different publications about the team?s recent decisions that are not flattering to the ball club.

 

My understanding is that American Express wants its members to be completely satisfied with purchases made from its merchants. That is why I am disputing these charges. I am not satisfied with my purchase because what I will be receiving in exchange for my money does not in any way resemble what was represented to me as the product.

 

For the record the charges in dispute are below. There were 4 charges because the purchase was made on a payment plan.

 

8/29/05 $224.95

10/1/05 $200.59

11/1/05 $212.78

12/1/05 $212.77

Total: $851.09

 

Most sincerely,

 

 

NAME OMITTED for Privacy

 

 

 

I think this letter is a joke. C'mon...it's not like the team is going to be that bad. Enjoy the experience of a ballgame, watch Cabs & Willis, relish the development of all of our young players. It's only $850 bucks...it's already been paid...grow some balls and support the Marlins. Jeez.

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This is absurd. The only requirement that the Marlins have is to field a team and pay them MLB salaries for 81 home games and 81 away games. I suspect that's exactly what your season ticket holder agreement states. There is no "competitive" standard, "expectation" standard, or year-to-year adjustment", standard that they need to meet. AMEX is very customer friendly but you have zero chance that they will side with you on this one. I wouldn't spend those "pending" funds just yet.

.

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It seems clear cut to me. The law is the law. What's "right" is open to interpretation. The Marlins have plenty to learn about what's right and good customer relations. But Amex will have to go with the clear cut law here.

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Not that its of much of any revelance to your correspondence with American Express, but season ticket holders wouldn't have been blocked from buying playoff tickets if they did not re-up by September. It was an additional service provided by the Marlins, which you agreed to on the belief they would not only make the playoffs but put out a team you consider worth watching the next season. Rather than risk the possibility of not getting playoff tickets (and, then, not in your seat), you opted to ignore the team's place in the standings and its strained negotiations with the city of Miami and guaranteed your seats.

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It's your money, you can do what you want (or don't want) with it. However, thinking that you're justified in walking away from the Marlins when they don't do what you feel to be responsible simply justifies the Marlins walking away from South Florida. They didn't hold up their end of the bargain (competitive team) so you walk away. Well, South Florida didn't hold up their end of the bargain (fans in the stands for a good team)...see where I'm going?

 

It is your decision though...

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wow guys, hold up here. This is totally his place to choose to pursue this course or not. It is really wrong what the marlins did to season ticket holders and unjust in many respects. And I applause him for standing up for his beliefs and wishes for it. I myself will be keeping my season tickets but most likely will not up after this year again.

 

Still, I think it is wrong is very childish of all of you for ripping him for making his own choice. The marlins wish to treat their season ticket holders like scum, then the season ticket holders have a right to act back. It is his choice to make. Shame on each of you.

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Let the guy choose what to do with his money. This thread should be a good way of tracking the proceedings, which would be interesting on a normal basis alone but when baseball's related it's doubly cool.

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In this situation I believe the Marlins should give refunds to those who ask for them. Most businesses willingly give refunds to customers who are not satisfied with their purchase. Refusing to give refunds speaks of the type of business they are running.

 

And for the record, I'm still planning to keep my season tickets and enjoy the games next year.

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I think it's a very well written letter that spotlights basically everyting that I don't like about how things went down. My problem with what they did is based more on principle - you just don't treat your customers like that.

 

FRZ - I understand exactly where you're coming from and agree with basically everything you wrote. Would this http://www.marlinbaseball.com/forums/index...showtopic=54613 change your decision to fight the charges? I think it would for me if had season tickets. My main problem with what they did is that they seem to think they can do whatever they want with no regard for their most loyal fans. A gesture like upgrading packages would show that they actually do give a damn about what their most loyal customers think.

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This sort of reminds me of similar lawsuits in entertainment. For one, the band Creed lost a lawsuit against fans for one show because they performed horribly on stage that night. I dont see why FRZ couldnt at least get a good chunk of his change back.

 

Bottom line: The Marlins are a product to those who pay to watch them. It might not sound very fan like, but not all fans have the money to watch any team ownership decides to put out on the field. Besides, this site alone proves there are greater fans away from the stadium, then probably people who go to watch the games at Dolphins Stadium anyway.

 

Good luck FRZ. :)

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I'm rooting for you, dude.

 

Guys, for those of you who didn't spend in excess of $700 for a season ticket deposit, I find it ridiculous that you're harping on people who want their hard-earned money back. Seriously, the nerve...I really find it hard to believe how you guys think it's okay to tell people what to do with their money.

 

How about this...we're probably going to waste our deposit, $1400 down the drain. But for any of you who want two club seats at exactly what we would pay for them, they're yours. You get 40 games. Right behind home plate. We got them at a discount, so you can have them at a discount. Anyone who wants to buy my seats is welcome to do so. PM me if you want to talk details.

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I'm rooting for you, dude.

 

Guys, for those of you who didn't spend in excess of $700 for a season ticket deposit, I find it ridiculous that you're harping on people who want their hard-earned money back. Seriously, the nerve...I really find it hard to believe how you guys think it's okay to tell people what to do with their money.

 

How about this...we're probably going to waste our deposit, $1400 down the drain. But for any of you who want two club seats at exactly what we would pay for them, they're yours. You get 40 games. Right behind home plate. We got them at a discount, so you can have them at a discount. Anyone who wants to buy my seats is welcome to do so. PM me if you want to talk details.

 

 

I agree. I can understand if you want to fight to get your money back, and I can also understand if you are excited about seeing baseball and are happy with your tickets. Calling those who want a refund "not a true fan" or whatever is unfair. For those of you who don't have season tickets and get on to people like FRZ - I think it's pretty low to be mad at people who are unwilling to shrug off being played for a sucker just so they don't piss off the front office. It's easy to ask others to make a sacrifice for baseball in South Florida when you are doing nothing. Like some have said, if you are truly a fan - buy their tickets from them. You don't live in South Florida? Who cares. Those people who are no longer excited about going to the ballpark probably won't be seeing any games even thought they bought a package for several hundred dollars. What's the difference? Fork out some money and you can call them whatever you want.

 

As for those who have season tickets and are happy with them, that's great. I think it's great that you guys are still excited about the Marlins - so am I. Have you ever stopped going to a restaraunt that you really enjoyed because they slighted you in some way and didn't even try to make amends for it? I have, and I think that's pretty consistent with what's happening here. You can love the Marlins and love baseball, but be pissed off at how you are being treated by the management and take a stand.

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Guest CHRISTYTOD

Lots of luck - I'm rooting for you.

 

What really irks me about this is that the Marlins felt that they spent too much money on contracts based on their financial situation so they decided to "get some of their money back" (i.e. NOT spend it in future years) by making a "market correction" - what about the people who were misled in their ticket purchase? They don't have that same right - to get their money back when the purchase doesn't work for THEM? The Marlins can bail, but the fans can't?

 

I hope you win this - it could be a longshot because these companies/organizations have a way of getting around things, but I would love to see you win!

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Give me a break! This letter is a JOKE! Please man get over it, so we traded all out players, sh*t happens..

 

For the record, you can re-news your season tickets after the deadline... I am a season ticket holder and following the 2003 Playoffs and World Series I didnt re-new my tickets till the next Febuary for 2004 and I still got my same seat and had the same playoffs seats for the 03 Playoffs...

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Ironic that his Sig advertises his blog saying: "A True Marlins Fan Blog."

Yeah sure is. Isn't a "True Marlins Fan" supposed to stand by his/her team no matter what?? :mischief2

No

 

Then I hate to finally say it, but I hope they do move away. Its become painfully obvious that even the most die hard fans could really give a **** about this team in any situation. And the attitudes of fans and people in the press has become almost sickening to listen to. I guarentee you that New York, Boston and Chicago would stand by their teams if ownership did this.

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Ironic that his Sig advertises his blog saying: "A True Marlins Fan Blog."

Yeah sure is. Isn't a "True Marlins Fan" supposed to stand by his/her team no matter what?? :mischief2

No

 

Then I hate to finally say it, but I hope they do move away. Its become painfully obvious that even the most die hard fans could really give a **** about this team in any situation. And the attitudes of fans and people in the press has become almost sickening to listen to. I guarentee you that New York, Boston and Chicago would stand by their teams if ownership did this.

 

I agree with you a 100%, Your not a fan if you dont stick by your team.. Not I bet you anything they win a World Series in 5 years because of these trades you would HOP back on that WAGON!

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