Friday, February 19, 2010

It's a Start Anyway...Ticketmonster Repays for Deceptive Ticket Sales

Last year, I tried to obtain tickets for Bruce Springsteen's Albany, NY show when it went onsale via the Ticketmaster site. I got in smoothly but then it said that the show was sold out there but additional tickets were being sold via ticketsnow.com. When I went to that site though, the ticket prices being on par with what a scalper would charge...I remember thinking, "Ticketmaster is pricey but how on earth are they getting away with advocating what is essentially an effing ticket scalping site too???!!" Needless to say, I didn't buy tickets.

Well it looks like Ticketmonster now has to pony up to all those people who did buy tickets via that route. The NY Post reports today that Ticketmonster is actually providing refunds (though not full refunds, the bastards) for the deceptive selling tactics used for 14 of Springsteen's shows last year. They're saying it was a "glitch" in the system that caused it to happen; riiiight. Did you know the definition of "glitch" is "being they got called to the mat on the situation and then Springsteen publically berating you for it"?

Thousands of Bruce Springsteen fans will receive refunds for deceptive ticket-sales practices by a unit of Ticketmaster, the Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday.

The FTC said Ticketmaster, which is now part of Live Nation Entertainment Inc., will repay fans "upward of a million dollars" after it used "deceptive bait-and-switch tactics" to sell tickets at 14 Springsteen concerts last year.

Fans complained last February that tickets to two Springsteen concerts at Jersey's Izod Center appeared to sell out instantly, and then they were directed to Ticketmaster's TicketsNow.com subsidiary to buy pricier tickets. The incident, which Ticketmaster blamed on a "glitch," sparked outrage from fans, lawmakers and the Boss himself.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz told reporters yesterday that the investigation into the practices of the ticket reselling due to the Springsteen complaints had uncovered "pretty shocking" practices.

One such practice was that TicketsNow sold "phantom tickets" without telling the consumers they did not actually have the tickets, but were hoping to get them.

The FTC said TicketsNow was also not fully refunding fans for the premium-priced tickets it could not deliver.

In connection with the settlement, the FTC sent letters to all major ticket resellers demanding better transparency in dealing with fans.

"Clearly, consumers deserve better," Leibowitz said. "They deserve to know what they're buying, including the risk their tickets won't materialize."

The Springsteen uproar threatened to undermine Ticketmaster's merger with the concert-promoting giant Live Nation, which was eventually approved in January.

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