A class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster was revealed earlier this week after a customer accused the ticketing giant of intentional fraud and over-charging consumers.
The lawsuit was filed by customer Allen Lee in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, brought by barristers Steve Berman and Elaine Byszewski. It claims that Ticketmaster has violated the Cartwright Act, California Penal Code, and a handful of fraudulent business practices.
“Have you ever wondered why Ticketmaster has been unable to rid itself of the scalpers who purchase mass quantities of concert or sports tickets from its website and then resell them for much more minutes later?” the lawsuit reads. “The answer: Ticketmaster hasn’t wanted to rid itself of scalpers because, as it turns out, they have been working with them.
“Indeed, on its own website, Ticketmaster refers to the activity of professional scalpers as ‘unfair competition.’ But now it has been caught secretly permitting, facilitating and actively encouraging the sale of tickets by scalpers on the secondary market using its TradeDesk platform — all for a second cut on those sales.”
Ticketmaster is fighting back against the suit by claiming customers like Lee have no right to sue the company since they have waived their rights – found in the fine print of their user agreements. They are counter-filing against Lee, noting that “the applicable Terms contained a provision by which Plaintiffs expressly agreed to submit their claims to binding arbitration, and waive any right to a jury trial or to participate in a class action.”
While most people blindly read past the fine print in a user agreement, opting to quickly e-sign, it is now up to the courts to decide if Ticketmaster’s fine print consists of a sneaky trap toward consumers, or it is actually legitimate.
Lee’s allegations follow the class action lawsuit filed against Ticketmaster after an undercover investigation by CBC News and the Toronto Star revealed that Ticketmaster works with scalpers, despite the fact they claim they don’t. Both publications recorded an explanation from a representative of Ticketmaster subsidiary TradeDesk, who said the company allows scalpers to bulk-buy tickets and sell them at higher prices.
“Companies should treat consumers fairly,” Lee’s lawsuit reads. “But a company fails at this when it accepts kickbacks for secretly facilitating a shortage of its product and then a sale by a third party at a higher price. This isn’t right. But Ticketmaster was just exposed for engaging in just such a scheme.”