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Canada's Competition Bureau sues Ticketmaster for inflating prices with fees

By Ray Downs
Canada's Competition Bureau sues Ticketmaster for inflating prices with fees
Canada's Competition Bureau on Thursday said Ticketmaster's extra fees on ticket prices are a deceptive advertising tactic. File Photo by Andrew Gombert/EPA

Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Canada's Competition Bureau on Thursday announced it filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster for allegedly false advertising prices on tickets by adding extra fees.

"The Bureau's investigation found that Ticketmaster's advertised prices are deceptive because consumers must pay additional fees that are added later in the purchasing process," the agency said in a statement. "This practice, which is known as 'drip pricing,' results in consumers paying much higher prices than advertised. Ticketmaster's mandatory fees often inflate the advertised price by more than 20 percent and, in some cases, by over 65 percent."

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Some of the mandatory fees include "service fees," "facility charges" and "order processing fees."

The Competition Bureau took the legal action after making a public statement to ticket vendors last year, calling on them to "be upfront about the true cost of tickets" and put the real cost of the ticket in advertising.

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"In July, we called on ticket vendors to review their marketing practices," said John Pecman, the Competition Bureau commissioner. "Today, we are filing an application with the Tribunal to stop Ticketmaster from making deceptive claims to consumers. Together, these actions send a strong signal to online retailers: consumers must have confidence that advertised prices are the ones they will pay."

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In a statement 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."

In 2014, Ticketmaster paid $400 million in credit to 50 million customers to settle a U.S. lawsuit against the company for charging "order processing fees."

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Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster, did not publicly admit to any wrongdoing.

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