The Competition Bureau, which has previously fined car-hire companies $4m+ for not including extra fees in prices, has told ticket agencies to fall into line
Sign up for IQ Index
The latest industry news to your inbox.
Lawyer Tony Merchant seeks "compensation and repayment to affected Canadian residents" for all fees collected "improperly" by TM and Live Nation
By IQ on 31 Jan 2018
Following last week’s complaint by Canada’s Competition Bureau over the “deceptive” practice of drip pricing tickets, Ticketmaster and Live Nation have been hit with a class-action lawsuit that seeks damages and repayment for those affected by “improperly collected fees”.
The lawsuit was initiated by ‘class-action king’ Tony Merchant on behalf of a proposed class “consisting of all persons, corporations or other entities who purchased tickets subject to inflated prices” during a specific period. The lead plaintiff, Micheal Lindenbach, estimates he has paid more than C$1,000 in ‘drip fees’ over the past five years, according to Marchant.
According to the Competition Bureau, Canadian law requires all mandatory additional costs to be included in the price of the ticket. Conversely, said its commissioner, John Pecman, “Ticketmaster’s mandatory fees often inflate the advertised price by more than 20% and, in some cases, by over 65%”, through the check-out process.
“On Friday, Merchant Law Group launched a class action litigation which seeks compensation and repayment to affected Canadian residents for all improperly collected fees due to drip pricing techniques used by Ticketmaster and Live Nation,” says Merchant.
“Canadians always expect to pay the price advertised, whether it’s for buying groceries or tickets to a concert”
“Canadians always expect to pay the price advertised, whether it’s for buying groceries or tickets to a concert. Ticketmaster and Live Nation collected these fees by advertising a much lower price for tickets, then jacking up the price.
“This case is particularly egregious given the dominant position which these companies hold over online ticket sales. When you consider the millions of sales transactions done by Ticketmaster in Canada each year, the magnitude of this class action becomes clear.”
In addition to Canada, 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.
Live Nation declined to comment on pending litigation.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.