When Justin Bieber announced he'd be stopping in South Florida on his Purpose World Tour, Melissa Matthai threw down $1,856.35 to buy two VIP tickets for her and her 14-year-old daughter. It was a steep investment, but the Broward mom justified the price since a backstage "Meet and Greet" with the Canadian heartthrob was included. Matthai's daughter is a day-one Belieber who continues to worship the baby-faced star, face tattoos and all.
But in March, the 22-year-old singer cancelled all Meet and Greets, writing on Instagram that sessions left him "drained and filled with so much of other people's spiritual energy." Matthai's 14-year-old was devastated. Then Matthai learned her money wouldn't be refunded. Now, she's suing Bieber in Broward court for damages.
"They were upset, but so was everybody," says Scott Behren, Matthai's husband and attorney. "There were girls who gave up their quinces, girls who gave up their bar mitzvahs for these tickets."
At the time, management explained to Matthai over email that she could be refunded for her ticket in full. But in doing so, she would have to give up her two premium VIP seats. There were no partial refunds. When Matthai tried to buy two more tickets, everything at the American Airlines Arena was sold out. She kept the nearly $1,900 package in order to hold on to her seats so she could see Bieber with her daughter.
"[Bieber] refused to refund monies back to customers without them completely giving up tickets for shows that had been sold out for months," the complaint states. "Matthai attended the concert with floor seats worth $200 each on July 2, 2016, for which she paid over $900 each."
Matthai wasn't the only person who was angry. After racking up nearly $2,000 each on their credit cards, fans are pissed that Bieber didn't hold up his end of the deal. But attorney Scott Behren isn't aware of any other lawsuits.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there were other [lawsuits] in other parts of the country," he says. "As far as I'm concerned, I believe you should pay for what you actually got."
Matthai only wanted to be refunded the price of the Meet and Greet session (roughly $700 per ticket). Now the complaint lists damages in excess of $1,800 including interest and costs. The complaint mentions breach of contract, Florida's unfair and deceptive trade practices act, and negligent misrepresentation.
Behren explains that their 14-year-old daughter had seen Bieber perform while they were on vacation in the Bahamas. That was five or six years ago, he estimates, and says his daughter was a huge fan even then.
"He was a lot smaller than he is now," Behren says. "But [my daughter] has always been a fan. She really wanted to see him because she missed out meeting him [that time] in Atlantis."