Ticketmaster accused of misleading and overcharging fans with platinum seats

A Calgary mother says pricey platinum-level tickets she bought through Ticketmaster to see Bruno Mars turned out to be anything but 24-karat magic.

People sat in the same section at Bruno Mars concert were shocked at what one woman paid.

Priya Pooranalingam paid nearly $600 for two platinum tickets to watch Bruno Mars in Edmonton, but says she got lousy seats. (Submitted by Priya Pooranalingam/Screengrab)

A Calgary mother says pricey platinum-level tickets she bought through Ticketmaster to see Bruno Mars turned out to be anything but 24-karat magic.

It was supposed to be a special night for 11-year-old Mitra Pooranalingam and his mom Priya — his first concert to see his favourite singer perform July 30 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

But the excitement quickly fizzled when they got to their $275 platinum seats.

"We're talking the farthest part, second floor at the very last seating in Rogers Place, so you could barely see the stage," Pooranalingam said.

Priya Pooranalingam says Ticketmaster needs to be upfront with its customers when it comes to its platinum level seating. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

A couple who sat next to her paid about $100 a ticket, and when they found out she paid almost $300 per ticket they were shocked. 

"They said 'someone cheated you real well'," she said.

"We were really putting our faith in these platinum seats to be this amazing experience." 

She says her son, who even made a hand-drawn sign to hold up for the singer to see — expecting to be seated close to the stage — was devastated.

Priya Pooranalingam paid $275 each for two tickets to see Bruno Mars, but ended up seated around people who paid less than $100 for the same seats. (Dan McGarvey/CBC )

"He was mad and super disappointed. The first thing he did was put his poster away. He was really hurt by the whole thing," Pooranalingam said.

Ticketmaster's website says its platinum seats "give fans fair and safe access to some of the best seats in the house."

Explaining how the tickets work, the website states: "Ticketmaster's Official Platinum Seats program enables market-based pricing (adjusting prices according to supply and demand), similar to how airline tickets and hotel rooms are sold."

Pooranalingam accuses the company of misleading customers and inflating prices at popular concerts for what she calls "very, very poor seating."

Pooranalingam tried, and failed, to change her seats during the concert but pursued Ticketmaster for a refund in the days after the show. 

"I was just not getting any response, just getting the runaround and being told they couldn't do anything about it," she said.

But Pooranalingam persisted and eventually got a refund. She now wants to make others aware that platinum tickets might not mean great seats.

"I want Ticketmaster to change the practice and I want them to be reasonable with the prices they're charging and I want to make fans aware of what they're buying."

CBC News contacted Ticketmaster's parent company, Live Nation Entertainment Inc., for this story but no one was made available for an interview.

"Ticketmaster is going to politely decline [an] interview for this story," said a spokesperson from North Strategic in an emailed statement. 

Pooranalingam's son Mitra made this Bruno Mars sign, thinking he would be able to hold it up for the singer to see. (Priya Pooranalingam)


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