Olympian’s grandmother caught up in ticket jam | NevadaAppeal.com

Olympian’s grandmother caught up in ticket jam

Steve Yingling
Nevada Appeal News Service

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Imagine having your airfare and housing all set up for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver, then learning that event tickets purchased months ago won’t be delivered.

That’s the plight of Martha Hight, a grandparent of U.S. Olympic snowboarder Elena Hight of South Lake Tahoe, who will compete in her second Winter Olympics later this month.

Martha Hight of Santa Maria, Calif., purchased eight $270 tickets to the Feb. 18 halfpipe competition at Cypress Mountain through eSeats.com of Scottsdale, Ariz. The tickets were earmarked for delivery in mid-January, but Hight still hasn’t received them.

“We’re so heartbroken,” Hight said. “We need our tickets, but we don’t know what to do.”

Hight went to the top for answers, contacting eSeats.com President Bob Bernstein about the unfulfilled ticket delivery and received an unfavorable response. In an e-mail to Hight, Bernstein said his company enlists ticket supplier Action Seating of Georgia to fulfill its ticket requests.

“Unfortunately due to the large number tickets purchased from Action Seating, eSeats.com is unable to refund your money at this time or re-purchase for you other tickets,” Bernstein wrote in an e-mail to Hight.

Bernstein divulged in his response that eSeats.com has initiated a lawsuit against Action Seating to attempt to recover money paid for Olympic tickets. In addition, Bernstein said eSeats.com would help customers like Hight purchase replacement tickets from another ticket supplier but would not offer a credit from its previous purchase through his company.

The Tahoe Daily Tribune attempted to contact Bernstein on Wednesday, but the phone call wasn’t returned.

On its Web site, eSeats.com touts itself as being an accredited business in good standing with the Better Business Bureau and the National Association of Ticket Brokers.

“I don’t trust them now,” said Hight, who has learned that the halfpipe tickets eSeats.com is now offering for sale are priced at $1,100 apiece.

Hight said she hasn’t informed her granddaughter of the ticket fiasco because she wants her to be able to focus on preparing for her second Olympics. She was able to watch her granddaughter finish sixth along with other family members at the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

“We had such a wonderful time. I was so proud, with her barely being 16 and being part of the team,” Hight said. “It’s the joy of having a grandchild and being there for them.”

Myra Hight, Elena’s mother, said family members are working on locating replacement tickets.

“How could we not go? That would be sad,” she said. “We’ll find tickets someway.”

Unless eSeats.com delivers on its original promise, then Martha Hight isn’t sure she’ll be able to watch her granddaughter perform on Feb. 18.

“I’ll clean houses, except a two-story house. I’ll do anything,” she said.