Ticketmaster is one of the most hated brands in the America, and frankly, they don’t give a f*&k. But is there a hangover to all this bad behavior? Suddenly, music fans are showing less appetite for over-priced, fee-heavy shows, and there’s little brand loyalty to protect Ticketmaster from disruptive changes ahead.
Which brings us to this: according to a federal court decision now unsealed, Ticketmaster faces a $23 million fine for hoodwinking customers into an expensive ‘rewards program,’ one that featured few perks and lots of hidden costs. Affected customers are being notified, and can claim reimbursements of $30 each.
The scam, which ran from 2004 to 2009, basically offered ticketbuyers inclusion in the rewards program, while obscuring the presence of a tacked-on, monthly fee. That fee often sat on customer cards for several months, with a tiny percentage (about 7%) making any redemptions. Ticketmaster claimed that the fee was marked, and customers knew what they were getting into.
Not so, according to the class action plaintiffs. Most affected customers took months to realize the charges and cancel the accounts, with Ticketmaster making tens of millions by the time it was all over. According to the plaintiffs, the scheme ultimately minted $85 million for Ticketmaster, or $75.89 per customer (guess Ticketmaster executives aren’t overpaid, after all).
Furthermore, it took the average affected customer 8 months to remove the charge completely from their bills. The settlement, which also includes $4 million in legal costs, was approved by US District Judge Dale Fischer in Los Angeles.