Ticketmaster facing lawsuit over alleged collusion with ticket scalpers

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Written by Maya-Rose Torrão

A man named Allen Lee is suing Ticketmaster, an entity of Live Nation, for unfair business practices and unjust enrichment over their TradeDesk platform. The complaint by Lee asks “Have you ever wondered why Ticketmaster has been unable to rid itself of the scalpers who purchase mass quantities of concert or sports tickets from its website and then resell them for much more minutes later?,” and also provides, “The answer: Ticketmaster hasn’t wanted to rid itself of scalpers because, as it turns out, they have been working with them.

In July, CBC News and Toronto Star journalists attended the Las Vegas’ Ticket Summit 2018 undercover, with the goal of exposing ticketing malpractices. CBC then subsequently reported that a Ticketmaster representative explained to undercover reporters that scalpers who manoeuvre around the ticket-buying limit using bots and fake identities are ignored by the company. This report led to a statement from Ticketmaster calling the claims in the initial CBC News investigative report “categorically untrue.”

The investigation allegedly found that Ticketmaster was indeed colluding with secondary sellers, allowing fake accounts to bypass the ticket limit. When the tickets were resold on Ticketmaster, the site was able to take a percentage from individual sales. One sales representative spoken to by the undercover journalists is said to have revealed that the practice of this kind of hacking was common as, “you can’t make a living on just eight tickets”. Another is alleged to have said that the largest tout had “grabbed around 5 million tickets a day”.

In response to the CBC investigation, Ticketmaster said: “We do not own the tickets sold on our platform nor do we have any control over ticket pricing – either in the initial sale or the resale.”

The complaint of the new class action lawsuit, led by Lee, goes on to detail that, “Indeed, on its own website, Ticketmaster refers to the activity of professional scalpers as “unfair competition”. But now it has been caught secretly permitting, facilitating and actively encouraging the sale of tickets by scalpers on the secondary market using its TradeDesk platform — all for a second cut on those sales.