A month after consumer advocates in Canada vowed to turn up the heat in the fight against Ticketmaster Entertainment and subsidiary TicketsNow, a $500 million class action lawsuit has been filed against the two companies and related entities.
The suit claims that defendents Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc., Ticketmaster Canada LTD, TNow Entertainment Group, Inc., and Premium Inventory, Inc. conspired to route consumers away from general public onsales in favor of higher priced broker resales. Premium Inventory is a ticket brokerage and stocks inventory as TicketsNow’s “preferred ticket broker,” according to Premium Inventory’s Web site.
Plaintiffs allege that consumers are routinely directed away from primary site Ticketmaster.ca to its subsidiary TicketsNow.com, where the same tickets were resold at premium prices. The suit also alleges that Ticketmaster’s fees and surcharges violate Ontario legislation.
“It is reasonable to expect consumers to be curious about the process by which tickets are sold to them,” said one of the plaintiff’s lawyers Jay Strosberg of Sutts Strosberg LLP, in a statement. “The mere fact that Ticketmaster has a financial interest in both retail and premium ticket sales leads to an obvious question about the process by which those tickets are sold to members of the public and how it works.”
According to published reports, the class action suit has been commenced for all persons who purchases tickets for events held in Ontario through Ticketmaster or TicketsNow from February 9, 2007, and on.
Ticketmaster’s practices in relation to subsidiary site TicketsNow have been a matter of contention. In Canada, fans originally complained about being rerouted away from primary Elton John sales in favor of secondary transactions, but Joe Freeman, Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Ticketmaster, commented that the companies were doing nothing illegal and that Ticketmaster did not withhold tickets from the public in favor of higher sale prices on TicketsNow.
“We are giving absolutely no preferential access to ticket brokers or anyone affiliated with TicketsNow to get tickets,” Freeman told The Canadian Press. “We’re not diverting tickets to TicketsNow.”
More TicketMaster/LiveNation merger news