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Ticketmaster to pay $4m to settle Canada lawsuit

The legal action, brought by Canada's Competition Bureau, concerned the drip pricing of tickets by Ticketmaster Canada and its sister websites

By IQ on 28 Jun 2019

Matthew Boswell, Competition Bureau

Matthew Boswell, Canada's commissioner of competition


Ticketmaster has agreed to pay a C$4 million (US$3.1m) fine to settle an investigation by the Canadian Competition Bureau into alleged deceptive pricing online.

Three Ticketmaster companies, Ticketmaster LLC, TNow Entertainment Group Inc. and Ticketmaster Canada LP, will additionally pay $500,000 (US$382,200) to settle costs incurred by the bureau during its investigation, according to the competition regulator.

The Competition Bureau brought legal action against Ticketmaster Canada in January 2018, after an investigation 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,” said the bureau. “Ticketmaster’s mandatory fees often inflate the advertised price by more than 20% and, in some cases, by over 65%.”

“The bureau expects all ticket vendors to take note and review their marketing practice”

As part of a consent agreement registered with Canada’s Competition Tribunal, the Ticketmaster companies will also establish a “compliance programme” to ensure their advertising complies with Canadian law. The consent agreement has the force of a court order and will be binding for ten years.

The settlement concludes the regulator’s legal action against Ticketmaster. A private class-action lawsuit, led by Merchant Law Group, remains unresolved.

“Canadians should be able to trust that the prices advertised are the ones they will pay when purchasing tickets online,” says Canadian competition commissioner Matthew Boswell, commenting on the resolution of the case. “The bureau will remain vigilant and will not tolerate misleading representations.

“The bureau expects all ticket vendors to take note and review their marketing practices, knowing that the bureau continues to examine similar issues in the marketplace and will take action as necessary.”

 


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