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Baltimore Resident Uses Obscure 65-Year-Old Law To Mess With Ticketmaster

By 02.27.13

We’ve previously documented how Ticketmaster screws over its users with insane fees (think: instead of watching a 30-second commercial before a 10-second YouTube video, it’s more like, you buy a ticket and then have to pay the cost of 12,000 Gin Blossoms used CDs on Amazon, sans shipping), but instead of posting Pearl Jam GIFs and Louis C.K. photos (hi!), one Baltimore resident decided to kick the online giant in the butt by using THE LAW.

In 2011 the man was so upset at having to pay $12 in fees on a $52 ticket to see Jackson Browne at Baltimore’s Lyric Opera House that he sued the venue, along with Ticketmaster. He alleged in that lawsuit that he’d been ripped off by “exorbitant charges,” and cited a 1948 ordinance that bars companies from charging fees more than $0.50 on top of a ticket’s stated price.

Maryland’s highest court just ruled last month that Ticketmaster’s fees do violate that law — originally designed to prevent scalping of Navy football tickets — but now it’s up to a federal court to determine whether or not Ticketmaster must stop charging those fees and issue refunds to customers. (Via)

That Jackson Browne, such a troublemaker. Consumerist continues:

The venues don’t want to be responsible for processing large volumes of tickets, however, and the city doesn’t want Ticketmaster’s business to go bye-bye.

“One big concern is Ticketmaster would say, ‘We’re not doing business in Baltimore anymore if we can’t charge more than 50 cents,’” says the city councilman who introduced the bill of exception for ticket companies. “Fifty cents is much too small an amount for their services.”

While we’re not a fan of being forced to pay high surcharges on tickets either, only charging $0.50 over the face value of a ticket could make it hard for some smaller companies to make enough money to cover costs like employees’ salaries.

“As a ticket provider, we don’t make anything off face value,” says Ticketfly’s marketing manager.”The only way we make money is from the service fee.” (Via)

The issue isn’t fees, in general; we understand those are a necessary evil. Where the anger towards Ticketmaster comes from is, 1) Being told a ticket costs $30, and then seeing it’s actually $45 with fees, and 2) paying nearly half of the actual ticket cost in those aforementioned random service fees. Charge $5, even $10, for a $30 ticket, whatever. But when it’s $15 (I’ve paid up to $20), that’s insanity and when, well, take it away, JB.

(Via Consumerist) (Banner via)


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