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Competition Bureau takes on Ticketmaster, Live Nation over alleged deceptive pricing

Last Updated Jan 25, 2018 at 4:32 pm PST

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Competition Bureau argues Ticketmaster advertises prices that are deceptive because of fees that are added later on

Some consumers end up paying final price that is over 65% higher than advertised price, argues Competition Bureau

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s called ‘drip pricing’ and Canada’s consumer watchdog is trying to put a stop to it.

Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. allegedly used the deceptive practice that saw customers pay sometimes more than 65 per cent above the advertised price, says the Competition Bureau.

The law enforcement watchdog said in a statement Thursday it has filed an application with the Competition Tribunal, asking it to end the alleged practice and make the companies pay an administrative monetary penalty.

Findings from its investigation allege Ticketmaster’s advertised prices deceived consumers by adding more mandatory costs — like service fees, facility charges or order processing fees, depending on the ticket — later on in the purchasing process.

“Ticketmaster remains committed to getting tickets into the hands of fans and has long practised transparency to enable informed purchasing decisions,” the ticket sales and distribution company said in a statement. “Ticketmaster continues to work closely with Provincial governments to enhance consumer protection and provide the best ticketing experience for fans.”

Last month, Ticketmaster Canada’s Patti-Anne Tarlton told NEWS 1130 too much government interference can have consequences.

“We can’t forget that the gross majority of events actually need help promoting them. They need help marketing them, etc. etc, so we’re also mindful of legislation that try to protect the high end. They can have unintended consequences against the entire eco-system.”

In July, the Competition Bureau asked sports and entertainment ticket vendors to review their marketing practices and display the full price up front.

“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 John Pecman said in a statement.