Canada’s Competition Bureau (CCB) found that Ticketmaster’s secret scalper program TradeDesk does not break federal competition legislation and has officially closed its investigation.
On Thursday, the CCB said that it is up to the provinces to enforce consumer protection and unfair business practice legislation, and the office of Economic Development Minster Navdeep Bains said Ottawa is urging provinces to take action.
“Unfair business practices, including as they relate to ticket sales, are addressed at the provincial level, we encourage our provincial and territorial counterparts to look into this issue,” press secretary Dani Keenan wrote in a statement to CBC News.
The news follows a report last fall by CBC News and the Toronto Star which found that Ticketmaster operates pro-broker programs. At a Ticket Summit trade show in Las Vegas last summer, a Ticketmaster resale employee discussed how the secondary operation runs, admitting that they turn a blind eye to scalpers who use fake identities and various Ticketmaster accounts to buy tickets on the primary market.
“If you want to get a good show and the ticket limit is six or eight … you’re not going to make a living on six or eight tickets,” the employee told a CBC News reporter, who was undercover as a scalper.
When approached by U.S. Senate consumer protection committee, Ticketmaster president Jared Smith responded with a four-page letter, explaining that Ticketmaster “does not have, and has never had, any program or product that helps professional resellers gain an advantage to buy tickets ahead of fans.”
“We would never make anything like that, which would go against the very core of who we are and what we do,” Smith said. “And that’s simply not what TradeDesk is.”
The CCB is still continuing its investigation into Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation over alleged deceptive prices.