Competition Bureau sues Ticketmaster, Live Nation over allegations of inflated ticket prices

Canada's competition regulator is suing Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, for allegedly misleading consumers on the prices for sports and entertainment tickets.

Regulator claims mandatory fees sometimes inflate ticket prices up to 65% higher than advertised

The Competition Bureau is suing Ticketmaster and Live Nation, seeking the an end to the practice of 'drip pricing,' which it claimed results in consumers paying higher prices than advertised for sports and entertainment tickets. (Paul Sakuma/The Associated Press)

Canada's competition regulator said Thursday it is suing Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, for allegedly misleading consumers on the prices for sports and other entertainment tickets.

The Competition Bureau said an investigation found that Ticketmaster's advertised prices are deceptive because consumers wind up paying additional fees that are added later in the purchasing process.

The bureau called the practice "drip pricing" and said it results in consumers paying higher prices than advertised. The regulator claimed that Ticketmaster's mandatory fees often inflate the price by more than 20 per cent, and, in some instances, by over 65 per cent.

The bureau said it has filed an application with the Competition Tribunal seeking an end to the alleged deceptive marketing practicesand pay a financial penalty.

"In July, we called on ticket vendors to review their marketing practices. Today, we are filing an application with the [Competition] Tribunal to stop Ticketmaster from making deceptive claims to consumers," Commissioner of Competition John Pecman said in a statement. 

"Together, these actions send a strong signal to online retailers: consumers must have confidence that advertised prices are the ones they will pay," Pecman said.

In a statement emailed to CBC News, Ticketmaster said it "remains committed to getting tickets into the hands of fans and has long practiced transparency to enable informed purchasing decisions.

"Ticketmaster continues to work closely with provincial governments to enhance consumer protection and provide the best ticketing experience for fans."

Back in July 2017, the Bureau called on sporting and entertainment ticket vendors to review their marketing practices and display the real price of tickets upfront.

With files from The Canadian Press