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'This is a classic case of bait-and-switch': Civil suit brought against Whitecaps, MLS over Lionel Messi no-show

A local man is looking for full or partial refunds
A Metro Vancouver resident has filed a civil case against the Whitecaps and MLS over tickets for the recent game against Inter Miami where superstar Lionel Messi didn't play.

A local soccer fan is looking to take the Vancouver Whitecaps and Major League Soccer (MLS) to court over tickets for the recent game against Inter Miami where superstar Lionel Messi didn't play.

The proposed class-action lawsuit has been brought forth by Ho Chun of Burnaby and could include anyone who had a ticket for the May 25 game.

In court documents Chun, who spent $404 (including fees) on two tickets to the game, alleges the Whitecaps and MLS advertised Messi, along with fellow stars Luis Suarez and Sergio Busquets, as a means to raise ticket prices for the match.

"Using such promotional materials as 'bait,' the Defendants caused the tickets for the Vancouver v. Miami Game to be listed and sold on the primary market at ten times higher than the price of other Vancouver Whitecaps home games," reads the claims by the plaintiff.

Tickets for the next Whitecaps home game (against St. Lous City SC) are going for around $30 after fees in the lower section of BC Place; the upper level, where Chun's tickets were for, is not open for the game.

The next time some upper level tickets are available (on Aug. 24 for a game against L.A. F.C.) tickets for sections similar to 419 are selling for $37 after fees.

The lawsuit notes that two days before the game it was announced that the trio would not be coming to Vancouver.

"This is a classic case of bait-and-switch," reads the document.

The lawsuit goes on to explain how advertisements before the game depicted Messi, Busquets and Suarez along with the Whitecaps.

"The Defendants ought to know that Messi, Suárez, and/or Busquets may not be playing at the Vancouver v. Miami Game, or failed to confirm or otherwise reckless in not confirming that Messi, Suárez, and/or Busquets would be playing at the Vancouver v. Miami Game," states the lawsuit.

It also alleges tickets for the game were initially priced higher than most other Whitecaps games.

"The Defendants priced the tickets for that game at around ten (10) times higher than the prices for other Vancouver Whitecaps home games for the same seats," reads the document.

The reason for the higher prices, it alleges, was the expectation that the trio of soccer superstars would attract higher demand. Since they did not appear for Inter Miami in Vancouver and instead stayed in Miami, the case alleges people who had bought tickets expecting to see Messi and the others experienced less value.

"The value of watching a game with these players is of much higher value than a game without these players," states the lawsuit.

It cites the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act, Competition Act, and Sale of Goods Act.

The lawsuit states Chun, on behalf of himself and others who would join the class action, seeks a partial refund for tickets that were used, a full refund for unused tickets, and a process for members of the class action to claim additional losses. It also notes that the refund should be based on the face value of the tickets, not resale prices.

The Whitecaps and MLS have not responded to the claim yet.