TM Settles With Maryland AG

Ticketmaster Entertainment and subsidiary TicketsNow have reached a settlement with Maryland’s attorney general’s office stemming from allegations the companies misled consumers attempting to buy Bruce Springsteen tickets in 2009.

According to the AG’s Consumer Protection Division, ticket buyers were redirected to the TicketsNow site after coming up empty searching Ticketmaster for Springsteen tickets at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

However, the division alleged that TM failed to inform consumers that many sellers on the TicketsNow site offered tickets at marked-up prices, and, at times, offered tickets speculatively.

“Ticketmaster misled consumers when it offered tickets without informing them that they were being sold by brokers at inflated prices, and then, even at the inflated prices, it failed to provide the purchased tickets,” Attorney General Douglas Gansler said in a statement. “Under this settlement, Ticketmaster must be more transparent when it steers consumers to its resale website so that consumers understand what they are purchasing.”

Specifically, the agreement requires that Ticketmaster and Co. inform consumers when they are being transferred to TicketsNow. TM must also describe the tickets and disclose when they are being offered speculatively by a seller who does not have them in hand. Finally, the companies must cease using any statements that tickets are “guaranteed” unless they can guarantee delivery of the tickets.

While Ticketmaster denied any violations of Maryland’s Consumer Protection Act, the company has agreed to pay the division $10,000 in damages to consumers who purchased but did not receive tickets to the Springsteen show. TM and Co. will also pay the division $25,000 in costs plus a $90,000 civil penalty, the statement said.