Twenty-six Taylor Swift fans from 13 states filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster's parent company Live Nation Entertainment, alleging the vendor violated antitrust laws in its pre-sale for Swift's "Eras" tour tickets. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Fans of pop music superstar Taylor Swift filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster, alleging the vendor broke antitrust laws and invoked unreasonably high ticket prices during Swift's Eras tour pre-sale.
The 26 plaintiffs from 13 states in the lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., Ticketmaster's parent company, claim the company engaged in "unlawful conduct in violation of California's Cartwright Act and the California Unfair Competition Law," according to a document obtained by Deadline.
The antitrust accusations charge that Ticketmaster manipulated the secondary ticket market which amounts to price discrimination. Ticketmaster also engaged in price fixing by "allying with scalpers," to affect prices.
"Ticketmaster is a monopoly that is only interested in taking every dollar it can from a captive public," the lawsuit said.
While Ticketmaster has competitors, the model used in the Eras tour pre-sale prevented ticket seekers from shopping around for cheaper alternatives. Ticketmaster gave pre-sale codes to about 1.4 million customers in its "verified fans" system, even though there was a known shortage of available tickets.
The plaintiffs are seeking penalties and damages arising from fraud, misrepresentation and fraudulent inducement. The penalty sought is $2,500 for each violation, which would be multiplied by the number of buyers and would-be buyers who were frustrated by the sale.
Ticketmaster canceled general ticket sales for the tour after a fumbled pre-sale. Fans who took part in the pre-sale were stuck in queues for hours and faced error messages due to the high demand for tickets.
"Based on information and belief, Ticketmaster intentionally and knowingly scheduled a general sale of tickets knowing they would not have the quantity necessary to facilitate the sale," the lawsuit reads.
"Ticketmaster has effectuated this anticompetitive scheme by forcing fans of musicians to exclusively use Ticketmaster for pre-sale and sales prices, which are above what a competitive market price would be."
On. Nov. 18, the New York Times reported the Justice Department opened an investigation into Live Nation Entertainment over potential antitrust violations.
Live Nation released a statement on Nov. 19, saying it "does not engage in behaviors that could justify antitrust litigation."
Swift also weighed in on the fiasco.
"I'm not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could," she said.
"It's truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them."
According to Swift, about 2.4 million people bought tickets to the tour.
Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift performs at the 41st annual Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tenn., on November 7, 2007. File Photo by Frederick Breedon/UPI | License Photo