Bristol City season-ticket holders were erroneously issued with refunds after a systems glitch during “scenario planning” by SeatGeek, the club’s ticketing partner.

The mistake, triggered by SeatGeek testing software scenarios during the COVID-19 lockdown, was discovered when fans of the second-tier English Football League Championship club noticed small amounts of money being transferred into their bank accounts.

The deposits followed an email which advised season ticket holders they would be refunded. This was despite refunds for Championship games currently postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak not being club policy.

Only a small number of fans actually received money – described by Bristol City as a “nominal refund” and thought to be no more than £30 – before the error was discovered and payments halted.

Peter Joyce, managing director of SeatGeek Sport EMEA, told TheTicketingBusiness: “During these unprecedented times, we are working closely with all of our clients to discuss how we can be proactive in scenario planning to configure our software solutions to support handling the remaining fixtures of the season from a season ticket and ticketing perspective.

“We did encounter an isolated issue this week with one single client, which affected a small subset of supporters, and we have acted quickly to identify and resolve this issue and work closely with our client to ensure supporters have been informed and kept up to date.”

Bristol City, who play at the 27,000-capacity Ashton Gate, released a statement this week to assure fans that the system error was not related to any kind of data breach. The club has stated that fans who received the erroneous payments will not have to return the funds, which are believed to be worth several thousand pounds in total.

Bristol Sport director Mark Kelly told fans: “Firstly I would like to reassure you that the ticketing refund email you received yesterday from Yes-Pay/World-Pay is not the result of any data breach or fraudulent activity/phishing scam.

“Following an initial investigation, our ticketing partner has confirmed it was the result of scenarios they were running with their background systems, which in turn issued a batch of refund emails to be generated from the Yes Pay/World Pay platforms to a number of our supporters.

“The automatically generated email should not have been issued but please be assured that your data has not been compromised in any way.

“The email was from our official partner, under our Privacy Policy, and issued to you because you had opted in to have notification of receipts. Our ticketing partner has apologised for any inconvenience caused, as of course do we.”

SeatGeek has become a prominent player in UK sport in recent years having signed up a series of major teams in the top levels of football.

The TopTix Sport operation – which was acquired by the US-based SeatGeek in 2017 – has deals with nine Premier League clubs, including the top three teams in the table, Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester City, as well as several EFL Championship sides, including promotion hopefuls West Bromwich Albion.

Image: @BristolCity (Twitter)