Service Fee Suit

Live Nation’s No Service Fee Wednesday program has been taken to task with the recent filing of a class-action suit by a New Jersey man who claims the promoter violated state consumer protection laws.

Concertgoer Michael Katz’s suit alleges Live Nation used deceptive pricing for concerts at the PNC Bank Arts Center, which it manages.

According to court documents obtained by the Newark Star-Ledger, the complaint says that base prices for tickets to an upcoming blink-182 concert at the venue rose during the LN program, in essence offsetting the “no service fee” deal.

Katz claims he paid more for lawn seats to the show during the LN promotion – $35.25 per ticket with a base price of $29 plus a parking fee – than before the offering, when he paid $20 per ticket, or $7.75 base plus parking and service fees.

“Instead of just charging an admission price, they have these fees that seem to be elastic that they can change to fit their needs,” Henry Wolfe, the attorney who filed the complaint, told the paper. “The fees seem pretty artificial. Essentially, this is price padding.”

The promoter called the suit “frivolous” in a statement.

“Live Nation launched No Service Fee Wednesday to make concerts more affordable for music fans in a tough economy,” the company said. “Concertgoers who have taken advantage of the program have saved more than $5 million on their summer concert ticket purchases funded by Live Nation and the artists we work with.

“The accusation that we secretly raised prices to offset the discount is false and easily verified through simple math. In fact the ticket price on these Wednesdays has been an average 26 percent less than any other day of the week.”

LN added that parking fees are tacked on to alleviate traffic issues and the venue is required to include a 25 cent charity fee per its lease agreement with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

The suit seeks an end to the alleged price padding as well as damages for consumers who paid inflated base prices or service fees during the LN promo.