Class action lawsuit vs. Ticketmaster has more than 2,000 possible plaintiffs

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Canadians tired of paying mysterious fees on concert tickets are suing the company responsible for most event sales.

More than 2000 people, including approximately 400 from British Columbia, have expressed interest in a class action case against Ticketmaster.

Lawyer Steven Roxborough says the next step is certification.

“And we’re waiting on a judge to provide dates, but we’re hoping that would happen within the year.”

He says the case, launched by the Winnipeg-based Merchant Law firm, is based on service or administration charges that could lead to prices jumping more than 50 per cent higher than advertised rates.

“Through something called drip pricing, the promoted price and the actual price are two different things,” he says. “There’s lots of people who were purchasing tickets, who realized they were being wronged and there’s other people who were purchasing and didn’t realize.”

This action, which has been in the works for several months, includes claims the company exploits exclusive contracts to monopolize the market.

RELATED: Competition Act wasn’t violated, says bureau after Ticketmaster investigation

The federal Competition Bureau is also suing Ticketmaster and Live Nation over claims both companies use deceptive marketing practices to jack up the advertised price of a ticket, something Roxborough says his firm is watching with interest.

“Those proceedings are different, of course, but we are keeping an eye on those.”

He tells NEWS 1130 one of the biggest complaints from possible plaintiffs involves higher-priced tickets becoming available within minutes of initial sales blocks quickly selling out.

Roxborough says this case isn’t impacted by recent consumer protections promised by B.C.’s NDP government, but he welcomes that legislation.

“The government has realized that this is a problem and they’re taking steps. Really comes down to enforcement, so it’s not just about having good legislation, but it’s about enforcing the legislation that is there and we’re hopeful that, not only is this going to be good legislation, but it’s going to be legislation that the government enforces.”

In April, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth introduced the Ticket Sales Act which will ban the use of software to buy large blocks of tickets which can be re-sold at inflated prices.

Proposed changes don’t include limits on how much a ticket can cost, but sellers will be forced to clearly disclose prices, guarantee refunds and let buyers know if they’re not the original provider.

Ticketmaster has not responded to NEWS 1130’s request for comment, but the company has issued a statement welcoming legislation to prevent the use of bots.

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