The legal team behind the class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster’s fees has launched a new Web site to attract more plaintiffs in the case.
Called Ticket Fee Litigation, the site details the case, which was originally filed in 2003, and states that U.S. residents who bought tickets Ticketmaster.com from October 21, 1999, through May 31, 2010, may be eligible to participate.
“Plaintiffs filed this case on October 21, 2003. The case is proceeding as a class action on behalf of United States residents. The claims challenge Ticketmaster’s Order Processing Fee and the fee it charges customers who select the UPS Delivery option on Ticketmaster’s website, www.ticketmaster.com (the “Website”), for ticket purchases made by United States residents over the Website between October 21, 1999 and May 31, 2010,” the site states. “The purpose of the notice is to advise you about the class action, including your rights in connection with the case. This notice is not intended to be an expression of any opinion by the Court as to the merit of the claims or defenses in this case.”
The lawsuit claims that Ticketmaster, which is headquartered in California, violated that state’s False Advertising Law (FAL) and Unfair Competition Law (UCL) by charging “unconscionable” processing and delivery fees for tickets. Two Ticketmaster customers, Curt Schlesinger of Illinois and Peter LoRe of New York, filed the original case in 2003 after they separately ordered tickets to shows and were charged between $14 and $20 in additional fees. The two believed they were unfairly forced to pay the fees, and had they known before they bought them that they were going to be charged such high fees they would have either chosen different delivery methods or not bought the tickets.
“Plaintiffs assert that Ticketmaster’s Order Processing Fee is deceptive and leads consumers to believe that it represents Ticketmaster’s costs to process their orders, and that the Order Processing Fee is just a profit component for Ticketmaster, unrelated to the costs of processing the orders,” the litigation Web site states. “Ticketmaster disputes these allegations and disputes that the Order Processing Fee is deceptive.”
As for the UPS delivery fee, “This claim is brought only on behalf of the Class members who selected and paid for the UPS Delivery option. Plaintiffs allege that Ticketmaster’s UPS Delivery option is deceptive because it leads consumers to believe the price they are paying Ticketmaster is a pass-through of the fees that UPS charges to Ticketmaster and that Ticketmaster substantially marks-up the amount it actually pays to UPS. Ticketmaster disputes these allegations and disputes that its UPS Delivery option is deceptive.”
As mentioned, Ticketmaster denies the allegations put forth in the lawsuit, but nonetheless the company recently has moved to increase transparency on its Web site as it relates to fees. Ticketmaster is now merged with Live Nation, but consumers have long criticized Ticketmaster for the fees.
In August, Ticketmaster began revealing the fees it charges for a ticket, before a customer enters checkout. While viewing tickets on the Web site, a consumer can click on “Price Details” to see a breakdown of the fees associated with the purchase.
“The problem is that historically we haven’t told you how much you have to pay for a given seat until very late in the buying process,” wrote Nathan Hubbard, CEO of the Ticketmaster division, in a company blog. “And our data tells us this angers many of you to the point that you abandon your purchase once you see the total cost, and that you don’t come back. The data also says (and this is the important piece) that if we had told you up front what the total cost was, you would have bought the ticket! So by perpetuating this antiquated fee presentation, fans are getting upset, while we and our clients are losing ticket sales.”
The class action case is set to begin the non-jury trial before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kenneth R. Freeman in late January, 2011. Members of the class, many of whom have been notified by email, do not have to do anything if they wish to remain involved in the case.
Those who have not been notified, or wish to be excluded, should visit the Web site for more information. California attorneys Robert J. Stein, III, and William M. Hensley, and Illinois attorney Steven P. Blonder are the lead lawyers for the class group.