Industry News

Canada watchdog still battling Ticketmaster fees

Canada’s Commissioner of Competition is still battling to stop Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation from using what is alleged to be a deceptive ticket pricing practice.

The law enforcement watchdog challenged a previous claim from the companies that it is standard in e-commerce to advertise ticket prices without including the service fees, facility charges and processing fees that are tacked on later.

“Any bald suggestion that consumers would somehow be able to divine the actual cost of tickets before the respondents choose to reveal them is simply incorrect,” said the commissioner in the filing.

“Many other e-commerce companies, when promoting other products to consumers, present prices that are in fact attainable as the first price consumers see.”

The legal fight between the groups has been going on since January when the commissioner asked the tribunal to end alleged deceptive ticket pricing.

Following the request, the commissioner had demanded that sports and entertainment ticket vendors review their marketing practices and display the full price up front.

It was alleged that Ticketmaster’s pricing methods meant consumers are sometimes charged between 20 and 65 per cent more than what the tickets were originally advertised.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation did not immediately respond to a request from the Canadian Press for comment, but have persistently fought the claims, saying the commissioner is either misunderstanding or misconstruing the ticket process and stressing that its practices are “standard in the ticketing industry, transparent, pro-consumer and proper.”

“Ticketmaster never suggests or implies that there are no fees associated with a consumer’s purchase. The opposite is true,” it said in a response to the application it filed with the tribunal.

“Consumers who purchase tickets online are aware that they will pay fees above the unit price of a ticket.”