Springsteen – 1. Evil ticket conglomerates – 0.
According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, thousands of Bruce Springsteen fans will receive refunds for what they are calling deceptive sales practices by TicketsNow; a ticket reselling website owned by Ticketmaster. So, if you saw The Boss last year at one of his currently targeted concerts you might qualify as one of the recipients.
As Reuters reports, Ticketmaster, which is now part of Live Nation Entertainment Inc., is expected to repay Springsteen fans an upward of a million dollars after the FTC found them guilty of using “deceptive bait-and-switch tactics” to sell tickets for 14 Springsteen concerts last year. The FTC began their investigation after they were swamped with complaints from people who attempted to buy tickets from Ticketmaster only to be redirected to TicketsNow (where prices were marked as much as three to four time face value) and in turn discovered more than surprisingly unethical ticket re-selling practices in use.
The FTC also reported that TicketsNow was selling “phantom tickets” without telling consumers that the tickets were only what they expected to receive rather than what they actually had in their possession, nor were TicketsNow fully refunding individuals for the premium-priced tickets they were unable to deliver. The FTCs chairman Jon Leibowitz later remarked, Clearly consumers deserve better. They deserve to know what theyre buying, including the risk that their tickets wont materialize.”
In response to this outrage, the FTC has contacted all major ticket resellers demanding better transparency when dealing with customers. The fiasco has also launched an onslaught of criticism from Springsteen himself, politicians such as Representative Bill Pascrell of New Jersey and millions of displeased music fans via Internet forums and chat rooms. At this time, Ticketmaster has refused to admit to any wrongdoing as a part of the settlement and in turn Live Nation Entertainment recently issued a statement claiming that its now ready to “move forward.” Its hard to say what the end result is, but at least we can rest peacefully know that the FTC has put consumers rights at the top of their list. Also, never mess with The Boss.