Live Nation face US class action

October 2018



Following on from the CBC and Toronto Star’s investigation into the activities of Live Nation’s Ticketmaster division in the secondary ticketing market, a class action has been filed in the US alleging a breach of consumer laws. After publication of the story, Ticketmaster issued a statement to CBC News saying it was “categorically untrue that Ticketmaster has any program in place to enable resellers to acquire large volumes of tickets.” It also said it had already begun an internal review of professional reseller accounts and employee practices before the CBC News story came out.

Ticketmaster recently announced that was closing it’s secondary ticketing business in Europe, shutting down the Seatwave and Get Me In platforms. This did not extend to the USA and Canada.

Ticketmaster President Jared Smith was forced onto the back foot following the expose, but continues to  defend his company’s involvement in both primary and secondary ticketing, insisting that Ticketmaster’s ticket inventory management platform, TradeDesk, had been misrepresented and he stated in blog post: “Let me be absolutely clear and definitive that Ticketmaster does not have, and has never had, any program or product that helps professional resellers gain an advantage to buy tickets ahead of fans”. The Star called TradeDesk a ‘scalpers’s tool’ . Two senior U.S. senators also called in Live Nation to answer pointed questions about its role in the “mass scalping of tickets” in response to a Toronto Star/CBC investigation saying “Given our ongoing interest in protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive practices, we seek clarification on the use of this program [TradeDesk].”

Now US ticket-buyer Allen Lee has launched the class action lawsuit saying Ticketmaster violates applicable consumer laws, and accuses Ticketmaster of colluding with touts (scalpers) stating: “Companies should treat consumers fairly. But a company fails at this when it accepts kickbacks for secretly facilitating a shortage of its product and then a sale by a third party at a higher price. Ticketmaster does this in order to receive a second cut on tickets that is even more than the original cut Ticketmaster receives”. One of the legal team behind the lawsuit told reporters: “We believe that Ticketmaster’s highly controlled black market scheme to receive kickbacks from illicit secondary ticket sales violating its own terms of use constitutes unjust enrichment, and we intend to fight for the rights of anyone who has overpaid for tickets originally sold by Ticketmaster through a secondary ticket resale site involved in its scheme”.

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