Ticketmaster L.L.C., TNow Entertainment Group, Inc. and Ticketmaster Canada LP will pay a $4 million penalty and $500,000 for costs incurred by the Competition Bureau during its investigation into allegedly misleading pricing claims in online ticket sales.
This concludes the Bureau’s legal action against Ticketmaster and other related companies. 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.
“Canadians should be able to trust that the prices advertised are the ones they will pay when purchasing tickets online,” said Matthew Boswell, the Commissioner of Competition. “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.”
The Bureau’s investigation concluded that Ticketmaster’s advertised prices were not attainable because they added mandatory fees during the later stages of the purchasing process. 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.
Today’s agreement follows the Bureau’s January 2018 application to the Competition Tribunal seeking to put an end to alleged false or misleading advertising by Ticketmaster, and a public statement in July 2017 calling on all sporting and entertainment vendors to review their marketing practices and display the real price of tickets upfront. Ticketmaster has already made a number of changes to its websites and mobile applications, and has applied these changes across Canada.
This is the fifth time since 2015 that the Bureau has successfully taken action to resolve concerns regarding the advertising of unattainable prices online. The Bureau’s work related to similar practices has led to a total of $9.95 million in penalties paid to date by Ticketmaster and major car rental companies:
- The Bureau’s investigation found that Ticketmaster made allegedly misleading marketing claims to Canadians on a number of its websites, including ticketmaster.ca, ticketsnow.com and ticketweb.ca, and on mobile applications.
- The consent agreement has the force of a court order and will be binding for a period of 10 years.
- The Bureau will continue to examine similar issues in the event ticketing market and will take action as necessary.
- The Bureau encourages all Canadians to report suspected deceiving pricing claims by using the Bureau’s online complaint form or by calling 1-800-348-5358.
- Hiding the true cost of a product or service
- Additional information about online advertising in Canada
Source: Competition Bureau