OTTAWA, Ontario (CelebrityAccess) — Ticketmaster L.L.C., TNow Entertainment Group, Inc. and Ticketmaster Canada LP, have agreed to pay a $4 million penalty for allegedly misleading consumers with ticket prices in online ticket sales. In addition, the companies will pay $500,000 for costs incurred by the Competition Bureau during its investigation.
As part of a consent agreement registered with the Competition Tribunal, the companies will also establish a compliance program to ensure their advertising complies with the law and will implement new procedures to prevent advertising issues in the future, the Competition Bureau said.
The Bureau took particular issue with Ticketmaster’s service fee policy, in which various fees are tacked on later to tickets that are advertised at the listed face value of the ticket.
“In the Bureau’s view, the price representations were misleading even though the amount of the fees was disclosed before consumers completed their transaction. The Bureau concluded that the additional fees often added more than 20% and, in some cases, over 65% to the advertised prices,” a statement from Matthew Boswell, Commissioner of Competition said.
“Canadians should be able to trust that the prices advertised are the ones they will pay when purchasing tickets online. The Bureau will remain vigilant and will not tolerate misleading representations. 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,” Boswell added.
In a separate statement, Ticketmaster Canada confirmed that it had settled the proceedings with the Competition Bureau, and noted that they were the first ticketing company in the country to voluntarily ensure total prices were displayed upfront to Canadian consumers.
Ticketmaster Canada also touted several practices it has adopted to enhance transparency in the ticketing space, including disclosing if resale tickets are being sold at above face value, preventing resale tickets from being listed for sale before the actual onsale date of priamry market tickets and clearly identifying if the ticketing service is the official primary ticket marketplace.