If you’ve purchased a concert ticket online recently, then you’ve experienced the disappointment when you see an exorbitant fee for “processing and handling” slapped onto the price of the ticket in your cart. For this reason, Ticketmaster is being slammed with a major fine by the Canadian Competition Bureau. The company must pay $4.5 million CAD (approximately $3.4 million USD) for profiting from inflating ticket prices and falsely advertising prices.
According to a press release from the Canadian Competition Bureau, the fine is for “allegedly misleading pricing claims in online ticket sales.” In effect, the Bureau stated that Ticketmaster prices were a form of false advertisement:
“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.”
The press release stated this fine is the fifth time Ticketmaster has had to pay fines due to false advertisement. Ticketmaster and car rental companies to date have paid $9.95 million in penalties. The previous lawsuit involving Ticketmaster was in September of last year when the company was found guilty of colluding with scalpers to profit from re-selling tickets.
The Bureau’s Commissioner of Competition, Matthew Boswell, said they will remain vigilant about ticket prices on other platforms as well. “Canadians should be able to trust that the prices advertised are the ones they will pay when purchasing tickets online,” Boswell said. “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.”