A class action lawsuit accusing Ticketmaster and parent Live Nation of business tactics that artficially inflate prices for consumers was certified by a judge in Vancouver, British Colombia in April. The action – Gomel vs. Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. saw a hearing on the matter in November prior to the rulingbeing made.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges “a series of individual misrepresentations” by Ticketmaster that imply “that all users will be afforded a fair opportunity to purchase tickets in the primary market for face price,” according to the filing. The plaintiff had purchased tickets to a Bruno Mars concert on StubHub prior to the tickets being available to the general public on the primary market. It argues, using the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act, S.B.C. 2004 as a legal basis, that the business practices and lack of transparency on ticket availability by Ticketmaster regarding primary market ticket sales illegally inflate prices for consumers.
In the ruling, Supreme Court of British Columbia Justice Michael Tammen ruled that the case should be certified on those grounds, however he declined to certify additional claims made in the initial filing using the Competition Act, R.S.C, 1985 as legal basis.
Justice Tammen’s ruling does not mean that the case has been decided, only that it has room to proceed.
“I thus would not at this juncture stop the plaintiffs in their tracks, and decline to permit them to move this litigation forward,” he writes in the ruling.
“I find that there is “some basis in fact” in this case that an award of punitive damages could be made to address “systemic” conduct,” he later writes. “Ticketmaster has a virtual monopoly on ticket distribution for large segments of the primary market. Commencing in 2015, the defendants have been participating in the secondary ticket sales market, attempting to compete with sites such as Stubhub and Vivid Seats. There is evidence that Ticketmaster has turned a blind eye to professional resellers using bots to purchase large quantities of tickets on the primary market, and encouraged those resellers to list tickets for resale on its secondary market platform, using its inventory software, Tradedesk. Both Ticketmaster and the professional resellers profit from this activity, while the end user consumer pays an amount for the ticket greater than face price.”
Several lawsuits, including this one, have arisen out of reporting in 2018 by Canadian media regarding Ticketmaster’s willing participation in secondary marketplaces, including turning a blind eye to ticket resellers violating their own primary market terms and conditions in acquiring inventory for resale, as long as they were using Ticketmaster’s resale platorm and allowing it to profit multiple times on the same tickets. Other lawsuits are ongoing in other provinces, alleging numerous violations of consumer law in Canada.