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Canadian Competition Bureau sues Ticketmaster

The competition watchdog has filed an application with the Competition Tribunal to stop Ticketmaster 'deceptively' drip pricing of tickets

By Jon Chapple on 26 Jan 2018

Canadian Competition Bureau

image © vtgard/Flickr

The Canadian Competition Bureau has followed through on its threat to take legal action against ticketing companies engaged in drip pricing, announcing late yesterday it is suing Ticketmaster over alleged “deceptive” claims relating to its ticket pricing.

An investigation by the Competition Bureau, the Canadian government agency responsible for enforcing competition law, found Ticketmaster’s advertised prices are deceptive because consumers must pay additional fees added later in the purchasing process. “This practice, which is known as ‘drip pricing’, results in consumers paying much higher prices than advertised,” reads a statement from the bureau. “Ticketmaster’s mandatory fees often inflate the advertised price by more than 20% and, in some cases, by over 65%.”

“In July, we called on ticket vendors to review their marketing practices,” explains Canada’s commissioner of competition, John Pecman. “Today, we are filing an application with the [Competition] Tribunal to stop Ticketmaster from making deceptive claims to consumers.

“Consumers must have confidence that advertised prices are the ones they will pay”

“Together, these actions send a strong signal to online retailers: consumers must have confidence that advertised prices are the ones they will pay.”

Ticketmaster, says the bureau, has made the alleged deceptive claims – which include service fees, ‘facility charges’ and order processing fees – on several of its websites, including ticketmaster.ca, ticketsnow.com and ticketweb.ca, as well as on mobile apps.

Drip pricing has also recently come under scrutiny in several European countries, including France and the Netherlands. The latter’s competition watchdog, the Authority for Consumers and Markets, said in October it was satisfied the ticketing sector had “turned a corner” after a majority of companies agreed to list all additional unavoidable costs up front.


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