Just as Ticketmaster faces a class-action lawsuit alleging shady business practices, a bombshell investigative report has added allegations that the company actively colludes with scalpers to fleece ticket-buyers.
A joint report published Wednesday by the Toronto Star and the CBC included hidden camera footage purportedly showing a representative from Ticketmaster’s resale division hawking a program that would allow scalpers using bots to sell thousands of tickets.
Toronto Star reporter Marco Oved told Saskatchewan Afternoon with David Kirton that the scheme would allow Ticketmaster to collect fees on both the initial ticket purchase and the resale through its secondary sales platform.
He said it was particularly shocking to see Ticketmaster directly encouraging the use of bots — automated programs that can scoop up tickets far faster than a human at a keyboard, given the company’s long-held public position on the issue.
“Ticketmaster says: ‘We do not support bots. We cancel bots. We are the biggest fighter of bots in the world.’ And yet, here they are with a program that’s specially designed for people who use bots to help them sell their tickets,” Oved said.
In an echo of the lawsuit filed recently by Regina’s Merchant Law Group, Oved said he also learned Ticketmaster inflates ticket prices by deliberately withholding blocks of tickets to create the illusion of scarcity.
“If you don’t release all the tickets at the beginning, then when you go to buy a ticket it looks like there’s only a few left, whereas there are actually hundreds of thousands that are being held back.”
Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation Entertainment Inc., have also been sued by Canada’s federal Competition Bureau.
That lawsuit, filed in January 2018, alleges Ticketmaster’s advertised prices are deceptive because consumers must pay extra fees later in the purchasing process. Known as “drip pricing,” the practice reportedly sees ticket-buyers pay as much as 65 per cent or more above the advertised price for a ticket by the time they complete a transaction.