(This story was updated on Wednesday, February 17, 2010, at 5:43pm EST to add comments from U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.)
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Thursday will announce a settlement it has reached with Ticketmaster concerning last year’s ticketing debacle with its subsidiary TicketsNow over Bruce Springsteen ticket sales.
FTC officials today issued a press advisory for 11am EST Thursday, during which FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz will announce the “next steps in the case against a major entertainment service company.” Reuters is reporting that the press conference will announce a settlement between the government agency and Ticketmaster over the Springsteen matter.
The settlement could include refunds, company concessions and certain adjustments to the company’s business practices. Ticketmaster is now part of Live Nation Entertainment, following U.S. Justice Department approval of the merger.
Early last year, fans complained of allegedly being rerouted to TicketsNow’s Web site when they tried to buy tickets from Ticketmaster’s Web site for Springsteen concerts. TicketsNow is a ticket resale site where tickets are often sold above face value.
The matter led to several lawsuits against Ticketmaster and TicketsNow, and resulted in the company settling complaints with former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram. The Milgram settlement included a $350,000 penalty paid by Ticketmaster.
“I have no knowledge of what the Federal Trade Commission Chairmen Jon Leibowitz intends to announce tomorrow,” said New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., who received complaints from his constituents who were upset over the Ticketmaster/TicketsNow matter. “If the matter does pertain to the Ticketmaster-TicketsNow debacle that fleeced so many concert-goers a year ago, I can only hope that the FTC will refund the consumers who were swindled, and use the common-sense transparency and consumer protections provided in the BOSS ACT to make sure this kind of debauchery never happens again. The FTC has an opportunity to do exactly what the U.S. Department of Justice failed to do in its approval of the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger: uphold the rights of American consumers.”
As a result of the matter, Pascrell proposed a bill in the House of Representatives called Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing (BOSS ACT), which seeks to regulate the ticketing industry. The bill is still in the House.