Ticketmaster Facing Class Action Lawsuit in Response to CBC/Toronto Star Investigation

[Photo: Flickr/Magnus D]

Sotos Class Actions, a class action firm, has launched a lawsuit seeking $250 million in damages on behalf of people who purchased resold tickets from Ticketmaster Canada Holdings ULC for live events occurring in Canada starting on Sept. 1, 2013. Additionally, the Competition Bureau has expanded its investigation into Ticketmaster. Both of these events are part of the fallout from a joint CBC and Toronto Star investigation into Ticketmaster's so-called secret scalper program.

Ticketmaster is the largest ticket marketing platform in North America. For several years ticket buyers have complained that regularly-priced tickets are often unavailable at the time that they purportedly go on sale, while tickets from resellers show up for sale contemporaneously, including on the Ticketmaster platform, at prices much higher than the face value.

Ticketmaster has terms of use and policies that claim to prohibit mass ticket purchases by resellers by electronic and other means; however, the investigation by the CBC and Toronto Star revealed evidence that Ticketmaster in fact encourages mass purchases by resellers and has developed a specific electronic platform called Trade Desk for the purposes of assisting resellers in listing tickets for sale en masse, including on the Ticketmaster platform.

Ticketmaster profits from the resale by taking an additional commission off the resale, in addition to the fee that it takes from the primary sale.

The class action alleges that Ticketmaster's practices constitute an arrangement to limit the supply of tickets on the primary market, and therefore are in violation of the Competition Act. It also alleges that the statements in its terms of use, to the effect that it prohibits mass purchases, are misleading representations contrary to the Consumer Protection Act.

Lead counsel for the class, Louis Sokolov, said "the media investigation has provided strong evidence of what many ticket buyers have long suspected – the market is rigged in favour of resellers and against consumers. If true, Canadian consumers have paid many millions of dollars for inflated ticket prices and additional fees. The aim of this lawsuit is to stop those practices and return the money to Canadian ticket buyers."

The Statement of Claim can be found here. Persons who purchase Secondary Market tickets can register here to obtain updates on the class action.

Author image
Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
You've successfully subscribed to Canadian Musician - Shorttakes
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.