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Russia’s Ponominalu investigated over drip pricing

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has opened an investigation into leading ticket agency Ponominalu over alleged drip pricing.

According to the competition regulator, Ponominalu misrepresented the price of tickets for a January show by Kasta (Каста), a popular hip-hop group, in an advertisement on Vkontakte, Russia’s Facebook equivalent.

The advert, placed in late 2018, said Kasta would play a large show in Moscow, with tickets priced at 1,500₽ (€21). However, says FAS, when the buyer reached checkout on Ponominalu.ru, the minimum price payable was 1,650₽.

“The advertisement did not contain any information about service fees and commission for purchasing tickets on the internet, and it is impossible to purchase tickets on the site [Ponominalu.ru] without paying a service fee,” reads a statement from FAS’s Moscow office.

“The advertisement did not contain any information about service fees and commission”

If found guilty, Ponominalu.ru is liable for a fine up to half a million rubles (€7,000). An initial hearing took place on 26 June.

According to Moscow Ticketing Forum MD Katerina Kirillova, promoters who consciously rely on sales through Vkontakte, Russia’s most popular social network, in 2017 sold an average 30% of their tickets through the service.

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2018, Ponominalu is Russia’s second larger ticket seller, after Kassim.ru, which generated revenues of 7.1bn₽ (€88m) in 2017. Ponominalu was acquired by Russia’s largest mobile network, MTS, last February.

Several other ticket sellers have been warned or sanctioned for not including the full cost in the price of tickets, including in the UK, the Netherlands and, most recently, Canada, where Ticketmaster was slapped with a $4m fine.


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