NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood has filed a lawsuit against secondary ticket market companies TicketNetwork, Ticket Galaxy and the company’s owner Donald Vaccaro, over the sales practices of brokers using the services.
In particular, the New York AG is taking issue with the practice of undisclosed “speculative tickets” sales, a form of arbitrage in which a ticket broker sells a ticket which they do not own, have not yet purchased and do not have a contractual right to obtain.
Once the customer places an order, the ticket broker then acquires the ticket at a lower price and provides it to their customer, collecting the difference in price as profit.
“Speculative tickets like these are nothing more than a scam that hurts New Yorkers and undermines the entire ticket industry – driving up prices while defrauding consumers into believing that they’re buying a real ticket,” said Attorney General Underwood. “New Yorkers should not have to – unknowingly – bet on whether a seller can actually deliver the tickets for which they paid. This office will continue to do what’s necessary to protect New York fans.”
While TicketNetwork says that it merely provides a platform for ticket resales, AG Underwood alleges that the company “orchestrated a deceptive scheme” with programs that were “specifically designed to enable select ticket brokers, like Ticket Galaxy, to offer speculative tickets for sale through the TicketNetwork resale platform, disguised to look like real tickets.”
The complaint also noted that speculative ticket sales were indistinguishable on TicketNetwork’s platform from sales in which the seller already owned the ticket.
As evidence of this, Underwood provided a link to speculative ticket listings to several Bruce Springsteen concerts in 2015 where tickets were listed on TicketNetworksites for prices ranging from $2,100 to $3,600 per ticket, which were all listed before tickets had gone on sale for the general public.
Additionally, the complaint alleges that TTicketNetworkmade false and misrepresentative statements to consumers. The complaint cites an alleged internal document which shows what appears to be a cheat sheet for employees that suggests the company engages in deceptive business practices to boost profit.
As well, the complaint allges that TicketNetwork made deceptive stateemnts when in 2010, they claimed to the Attorney General of New Jersey that they ban speculative ticket sales on their service.
Through the suit, New York is seeking to have Ticketnetwork and its connected companies provide and accounting and return all money obtained from consumers through alleged deceptive practices, as well as a $5,000 fine per violation of General Business Laws and a fine of three times the amount gained for violations of New York’s Arts and Cultural Affairs laws.
Earlier this month, TicketNetwork and Ticket Galaxy both filed seperate suits against the State of New York, seeking to pre-empt Underwood’s suit, arguing that speculative ticket sales are protected by state and federal law and they are in compliance with those laws.