Ticketmaster’s Baltimore Blitz

A Maryland court has ruled that service fees charged by Ticketmaster amount to scalping, according to a Baltimore ordinance from 1948 that was passed to curb scalping at college football games.

In one of many class-action suits against the company, a Baltimore man sued TM in 2011 after paying $12 in fees for a $52 Jackson Browne ticket. The federal court requested that the Maryland Court of Appeals decide whether the ordinance banning ticket sales above face value applied in the case.

The ruling means a service fee of more than 50 cents is considered scalping and would leave a ticket seller subject to fines of $500 and possible revocation of its vendors license.

The suit says ticketing fees are “a way of masking the real price for consumers and driving up the cost,” the Baltimore Sun reported.

However, it’s unlikely that Ticketmaster and any other sellers will be expected to change their ways so suddenly. 12th District City Councilman Carl Stokes is working with the city’s mayor to bring in a bill to “vacate the legislation for nine months,” the Baltimore City Paper reported.

This means the law would not be enforced while the city figures out how best to proceed. It’s also unclear how the ruling would affect secondary sellers such as StubHub.

All-in pricing seems to be one way to solve the problem. Could Baltimore be the test market?