The world’s leading event-ticket vendor — and its parent company Live Nation Entertainment Inc. — are in regulatory hot water.
Canada’s Competition Bureau is now suing Ticketmaster over a litany of deceptive pricing practices. Innocent until proven guilty (or something like that), but the Competition Bureau believes that Ticketmaster is engaged int the practice of ‘drip pricing.’
And what is ‘drip pricing,’ you ask?
The end result of this scheme is that consumers pay much higher prices than advertised. Basically, Ticketmaster adds fees later in the purchase process, sucking consumers into seriously elevated price tags.
Ticket buyers ultimately end up paying 20% more, and in some cases, 65% more. The weapon of choice for this scam is the ‘fee,’ including ‘service fees,’ ‘facility charges’ and ‘order processing fees.’
Canada’s Competition Bureau is aiming to end ‘drip pricing’ practices for good. Additionally, the Canadian federal agency demands an ‘administrative monetary penalty’ levied against Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation.
Of course, ‘drip pricing’ is not a new practice. But that doesn’t make it legal. Accordingly, last July, Canada’s Competition Bureau warned ticket vendors against this pricing tactic. The agency didn’t mention any names.
That changed in a recently-filed application with Canada’s Competition Tribunal. In that filing, Ticketmaster definitely named (along with Live Nation). The filing indicated that the Bureau hopes to bring “an end to the alleged deceptive marketing practices,” and hand a financial penalty to the company and its parent.
How much the monetary penalty would be was not specified.
Looks like the Canadian Government is pretty serious about ending this practice.
Fans have been getting fee’d to death for decades. But for whatever reason, ending ‘drip pricing’ practices is now a priority of the Canadian government.
Actually, Ontario has already initiated changes. A new law in December banned ticket-buying “bots”. There’s also a price cap requirement on resold tickets of 150% of the original price. The end result is that ticket sellers will have to be upfront regarding the total cost of tickets — including fees and charges.
Alberta followed suit and started reexamining its own ticketing laws in November.
Ticketmaster, in a statement emailed to the media, said it “remains committed to getting tickets into the hands of fans and has long practiced transparency to enable informed purchasing decisions.” The company will also continue to “to work closely with provincial governments to enhance consumer protection and provide the best ticketing experience for fans.”