House Commerce Subcommittee Grills Ticketmaster on “Potential Unfair or Deceptive Practices” House Commerce Subcommittee Grills Ticketmaster on “Potential Unfair or Deceptive Practices”
A second congressional committee has demanded answers from Live Nation Entertainment and Ticketmaster regarding concerns about “potentially unfair or deceptive practices” in ticketing, stemming... House Commerce Subcommittee Grills Ticketmaster on “Potential Unfair or Deceptive Practices”

A second congressional committee has demanded answers from Live Nation Entertainment and Ticketmaster regarding concerns about “potentially unfair or deceptive practices” in ticketing, stemming from the recent Taylor Swift ticket sales chaos. Senior members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee expressed their concerns in a letter to Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino, requesting a staff briefing on their key questions.

“The recent pre-sale ticketing process for Taylor Swift’s upcoming Eras tour—in which millions of fans endured delays, lockouts, and competition with aggressive scammers, scalpers, and bots—raises concerns over the potential unfair and deceptive practices that face consumers and eventgoers,” the letter says, in part. “To better understand the obstacles consumers have recently faced and to hear an update on actions the company has taken to maximize the experiences of average consumers, we request a Committee staff briefing with your company,” the bipartisan Committee leaders continued. “This should include a discussion on additional fees, insider reserves, dynamic pricing, restrictions on transferability, limited ticket availability, speculative ticketing, verified fan program requirements, and scalping by bots and other scammers.”

The letter was signed by Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Ranking Member Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Ranking Member Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). The bipartisan nature of the inquiry shows that members of congress from both sides of the aisle are taking seriously the consumer anger that has mounted against Ticketmaster and Live Nation in recent months, even before the Taylor Swift ticket fiasco in November.

Such bipartisan support of a hard look at the ticketing industry also bodes well for the potential for reform of consumer issues in ticketing by way of federal legislation. Senator Amy Klobuchar – a democrat and chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy Antitrust and Consumer Rights, which is planning hearings involving Ticketmaster/Live Nation in coming monthshas hinted that legislation is already being worked on that will provide consumer transparency on ticket availability and holdbacks.

The Ticketmaster inquiry is not the first time that the House Energy and Commerce Committee has questioned consumer issues in the ticketing industry. The committee held hearings of its own in early 2020, but no legislation came of those hearings.

The full letter from the Energy and Commerce Committee members is available at house.gov (link opens in new window as a PDF)

Last Updated on December 9, 2022 by Dave Clark