Business

Ticketmaster to pay $4.5M for misleading consumers on prices

The Competition Bureau says Ticketmaster will pay $4.5 million in penalties and associated costs to settle a case investigating misleading pricing claims for its online ticket sales.

Investigation found advertised prices did not reflect actual costs to consumers

An investigation by the Competition Bureau found Ticketmaster's advertised prices did not reflect the true cost to consumers. (Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)

The Competition Bureau says Ticketmaster will pay $4.5 million in penalties and associated costs to settle a case investigating misleading pricing claims for its online ticket sales.

The bureau said Thursday that Ticketmaster LLC, TNow Entertainment Group Inc. and Ticketmaster Canada LP will pay a $4-million penalty and $500,000 for the bureau's investigation costs.

The companies will also create a compliance program as part of a consent agreement.

The news comes after the bureau found Ticketmaster's advertised prices did not reflect the true cost to the consumer as the online ticket service added mandatory fees later in the purchasing process that often added more than 20 per cent to the cost and in some cases over 65 per cent.

The bureau found the initial prices misleading despite consumers seeing the additional fees before completing their transaction.

Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell said that Canadians should be able to trust that they will pay the advertised prices when purchasing tickets online.

"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," Boswell said in a statement.

Ticketmaster said Thursday it is committed to leading in consumer safety and transparency and has adopted practices to protect Canadians.

It said it clearly discloses if tickets are being sold at the original face value or are being resold at prices that may be above or below face value

The company also bans the practice of listing tickets for sale at inflated prices before they are even purchased and identifies if it is the official primary ticket marketplace for an event.