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Fan Freedom Project files complaint against Durham Performing Arts Center

By Jean Henegan

The Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) in Durham, North Carolina recently made headlines for taking advantage of a North Carolina state law allowing individual venues to prohibit the resale of tickets to upcoming events so long as the venue properly registers with the North Carolina Secretary of State and pays a fee. In light of this recent announcement, the Fan Freedom Project has filed a complaint with the North Carolina Attorney General and Secretary of State arguing that a complete ban on ticket resale is actually in violation of the current North Carolina law regarding ticket resale.

Under the current North Carolina state law, ticket resale at above face value ticket price is allowed unless a venue, such as the DPAC, takes the appropriate measures to bar it from occurring. However, the Fan Freedom Project argues in its complaint, that the law "does not allow a venue to prohibit resale altogether."

The law also requires that the primary sales site (in this case, Ticketmaster.com) place a notice on the event page warning of the venue's ban on ticket resale. The Fan Freedom Project has also taken issue with the message placed by Ticketmaster on the DPAC's event webpage, indicating in their complaint that the message does not mention that the ban is only applicable to secondary ticket sales at prices above face value. "This notice misleads fans and violates our consumer rights," states the filed letter of complaint.

The complaint further notes that despite the notice contained on the DPAC's Ticketmaster venue page, the Fan Freedom Project found tickets to an upcoming DPAC event for sale on Ticketmaster's secondary ticketing site TicketsNow.com. "TicketsNow currently lists tickets to the March 6 Big Time Rush show for $82-$186. Face value tickets for the sold-out show cost $30-$55," according to the complaint. As of Feb. 27, tickets for the concert are still available on TicketsNow, ranging in price from $112-$1759.

The Fan Freedom Project, in addition to alleging that providing above face value tickets through its own secondary ticketing site "is clearly an attempt by Ticketmaster, through DPAC, to eliminate competition in the secondary market for its own benefit," is seeking to protect those individuals who are seeking to sell tickets at or below face value.

Jon Potter, president of Fan Freedom, told The Herald Sun that "[a]bout 47 percent of consumers nationally purchase tickets below face value through some re-sale outlet."

"There's a huge number of folks who buy tickets below face value … who are offended by a blanket prohibition," Potter told The Herald Sun.

The Fan Freedom Project asks in its complaint that Ticketmaster change the wording of the warning regarding tickets to DPAC events, making it so that the warning reflects the true nature of the North Carolina law.

The North Carolina Secretary of State informed The Herald Sun that the office has no jurisdiction over the complaint, but the Office of Attorney General has indicated that it will review the complaint and respond as needed. TicketNews will continue to follow this story and report on any new developments.

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