Canada’s Competition Bureau is suing Ticketmaster for deceptive advertising, following a warning to end the marketing strategy last year.
In a statement Thursday, the Competition Bureau said it’s taking action against the ticket sales and distribution giant, as well as parent company Live Nation, for allegedly adding mandatory fees late into the sales transaction, inflating the price from what was advertised – in come cases by 65 per cent.
The mandatory fees imposed by Ticketmaster vary by ticket, and include “service fees”, “facility charges” and “order processing fees,” the Bureau claims.
The practice, called “drip pricing,” is misleading, the Bureau said, because consumers will always be forced to pay much higher prices than what is advertised.
The Bureau’s legal action against Ticketmaster comes seven months after ticket vendors were issued a warning to review its marketing strategies.
“Together, these actions send a strong signal to online retailers: consumers must have confidence that advertised prices are the ones they will pay,” John Pecman, Commissioner of Competition, said.
The Bureau has filed an application with the Competition Tribunal seeking, among other things, an end to the alleged deceptive marketing practices and an administrative monetary penalty.
In a statement to Black Press Media, Ticketmaster said it has long practiced transparency to enable informed purchases, and is committed to getting tickets into the hands of fans.
“Ticketmaster continues to work closely with Provincial governments to enhance consumer protection and provide the best ticketing experience for fans.”