Ticketmaster to Pay $4.5 Million over Deceptive Ticket Pricing

Canada's Competition Bureau sued the ticketing company last January
Ticketmaster to Pay $4.5 Million over Deceptive Ticket Pricing
Ticketmaster is being forced to pay $4.5 million as a result of misleading pricing claims for its online ticket sales, according to Canada's Competition Bureau.

The bureau said today that Ticketmaster LLC, TNow Entertainment Group Inc. and Ticketmaster Canada LP will pay a $4 million penalty, as well as $500,000 for the bureau's investigation costs.

"Our investigation concluded that Ticketmaster's advertised prices were not attainable because they added mandatory fees during the later stages of the purchasing process," the bureau wrote on Twitter. "Within 30 days, the companies shall comply with the Deceptive Marketing Practices Provisions of the Competition Act."

The Competition Bureau took action against Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation last January, arguing prices were deceptive due to "mandatory fees," "service fees," "facility charges" and "order processing fees" that are added later in the purchasing process. The practice of "drip pricing" led to consumers paying much higher prices than were initially advertised.

The bureau found Ticketmaster's mandatory fees could inflate the advertised price of a ticket by more than 20 percent and, in some cases, by more than 65 percent.

"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," Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell said in a statement.

The Canadian Press reports that following the ruling, Ticketmaster said it is committed to consumer safety and transparency, adding the company clearly disclose if tickets are being sold at original face value or are being resold at prices that may be above or below face value.