Ticketmaster Ordered To Pay $4.5M To Canada’s Competition Bureau

– Ticketmaster
Ticketmaster will pay out $4.5 million to settle a case of “misleading pricing” observed by Canada’s Competition Bureau. 
The Competition Bureau made the announcement June 27 that it’s investigation, which stretches back to 2017, found that Ticketmaster’s advertised prices “were not attainable because they added mandatory fees during the later stages of the purchasing process.” 
Ticketmaster LLC, TNow Entertainment Group and Ticketmaster LP will thus pay a $4 million penalty and $500,000 to cover investigation expenses. The companies will also establish a compliance program to ensure their advertise complies with the law.
“Canadians should be able to trust that the prices advertised are the ones they will pay when purchasing tickets online,” Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell said in a statement. “The Bureau will remain vigilant and will not tolerate misleading representations. The Bureau expects all ticket vendors to take note and review their marketing practices, knowing that the Bureau continues to examine similar issues in the marketplace and will take action as necessary.”
A Ticketmaster representative told Pollstar that the investigation stretches back to cases from 2017 and that Ticketmaster is today the only major marketplace in compliance with the country’s regulations regarding “all-in” pricing, mandating that all fees be viewable from the earliest stages of the purchasing process. A statement from the company details that in addition to all-in pricing the company now clearly discloses to Canadian customers if tickets are being sold above or below face value, states when it is and is not the official primary marketplace for an event and has banned the practice of speculative ticketing in Canada.
The Bureau will be continuing to examine similar issues in the ticketing market, according to a news release.
The idea of “drip” pricing, or concealing fees until late in a transaction, was addressed by FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter at a workshop held in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, when she said: “opaque and deceptive ticket pricing has passed its boiling point. Consider yourselves on notice.”
Ontario took a hard stance against resellers when it passed the Ticket Sales Act that, among other things, capped resale prices at 50 percent above face value. That portion of the Act was put aside by Premier Doug Ford in in 2018 though, and was ultimately scrapped in April. The Act was also modified to no longer require primary ticketers to disclose inventory and the fee for bot users was increased, according to Global News.