Canadian Agency Says Ticketmaster Software Does Not Violate Anti-Scalping Law

The Competition Bureau, an independent Canadian law enforcement agency tasked with ensuring market competition, announced Thursday that Ticketmaster software does not violate the country’s anti-scalping laws.

“Recently, allegations were made that Ticketmaster facilitated the mass scalping of tickets through the use of its software, TradeDesk,” the agency wrote in a statement. “However, the Competition Bureau has examined the matter and has concluded that this conduct has not contravened the Competition Act.”

The investigation specifically revolved around Ticketmaster’s TradeDesk software, which some said allowed scalpers to more easily engage in predatory schemes, and prompted American lawmakers to begin to ask similar questions of Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

“Let me start by assuring you that Ticketmaster does not have, and has never had, any product or program that allows ticket scalpers, or anyone else, to buy tickets ahead of fans and circumvent the policies we have on our site regarding on-line ticket purchasing limits,” Ticketmaster president Jared Smith wrote in an October letter to U.S. senators.

The Bureau, however, continues to pursue separate litigation against Ticketmaster and Live Nation, alleging that the companies have engaged in deceptive practices including “drip pricing,” where ticket sellers confuse consumers by adding multiple fees to the advertised price.

“The Competition Act is the best tool to crack down on false or misleading representations, including misleading ticket price advertising,” Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell wrote in today’s announcement. “That’s why we sued Ticketmaster, and we remain committed to advancing our ongoing litigation.”

Last May, Ticketmaster Canada chief operating office Patti-Anne Tarlton addressed the subject in an interview with Pollstar. “What the bureau is looking for is the live event industry, in the e-commerce setting, to move to an all-in pricing structure like you would see in airline travel and car rentals, and which the industry at large will likely move toward because it’s progress,” she said.

Public hearings in that case will begin this fall.