Competition Bureau sues Ticketmaster over misleading ticket price advertising
The Competition Bureau took action today against Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, for allegedly making deceptive claims to consumers when advertising prices for sports and entertainment tickets.
The Bureau’s investigation found that Ticketmaster’s advertised prices are deceptive because consumers must pay additional fees that are added later in the purchasing process. This practice, which is known as “drip pricing”, results in consumers paying much higher prices than advertised. Ticketmaster’s mandatory fees often inflate the advertised price by more than 20% and, in some cases, by over 65%.
This legal action follows a public statement by the Bureau in July 2017, which called on all sporting and entertainment ticket vendors to review their marketing practices and display the real price of tickets upfront.
The Bureau has filed an application with the Competition Tribunal seeking, among other things, an end to the alleged deceptive marketing practices and an administrative monetary penalty.
“In July, we called on ticket vendors to review their marketing practices. Today, we are filing an application with the Tribunal to stop Ticketmaster from making deceptive claims to consumers. Together, these actions send a strong signal to online retailers: consumers must have confidence that advertised prices are the ones they will pay.”
Commissioner of Competition
Ticketmaster has made the alleged deceptive marketing claims on a number of websites, including ticketmaster.ca, ticketsnow.com and ticketweb.ca, and on mobile applications.
The mandatory fees imposed by Ticketmaster vary by ticket, and include “service fees”, “facility charges” and “order processing fees”.
Ticketmaster sold over 480 million tickets in 2016 worldwide.