U.S. Senators Call on Live Nation CEO to Respond to Allegations Brought Up in CBC News Report
The company is also possibly facing a class action lawsuit over the accusations that it is complicit in scalping its own tickets.
Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have penned a letter to Live Nation president and CEO, Michael Rapino, calling on the promoter which owns Ticketmaster to clarify the use of their TradeDesk program. The letter was prompted by a report released last week by the Toronto Star and CBC News that alleged Ticketmaster is not only aware of scalpers violating its terms of service, but has also provides a program to assist brokers in relisting those tickets on Ticketmaster’s secondary site.
Alluding to the Toronto Star report, the letter reads “Ticketmaster utilizes a professional reseller program called TradeDesk, which provides web-based inventory for scalpers to effectively purchase large quantities of tickets from Ticketmaster’s primary ticket sales website and resell these tickers for higher prices on its own resale platform.”
“Citing examples of TradeDesk users moving up to several million tickets per year, the allegations of the harms to consumers made in this piece are serious and deserve immediate attention,” the letter continues.
The senators reference The Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016, which was signed into law by then-president Barack Obama. The BOTS Act prohibits the “circumvention of a security measure, access control system, or other technological control or measure on an Internet website or online service that is used by the ticket issuer to enforce posted event ticket purchasing limits or to maintain the integrity of posted online ticket purchasing order rule.”
“It’s clear from the Senators’ letter that the CBC’s reporting has left the impression that Ticketmaster provides brokers with ticket-buying software, which is categorically false. We look forward to explaining that to the Senators later this week," Ticketmaster said in a statement to Billboard.
Moran and Blumenthal have asked Rapino to describe Ticketmaster’s purchasing limits and how the company identifies programs used to circumvent those limits and if those limits apply to resellers using TradeDesk.
The chairman and ranking member of the US Senate commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, product safety, insurance and data security, are also inquiring about the rules of compliance for TradeDesk users and what role Ticketmaster’s Professional Reseller Handbook plays in deterring resellers from engaging in illegal ticket purchasing activities.
Rapino has been given until 5pm on Oct. 5 to respond to the senators’ concerns.
Earlier this week, Ticketmaster president Jared Smith told Billboard "We absolutely do not turn a blind eye to the misuse of our products.” Smith’s comments came after investigative reporters released undercover video shot at TicketSummit in Las Vegas, a July convention organized by resale company TicketNetwork, showing a rep for Ticketmaster Resale saying "pretty damn near every one” of the resellers using TradeDesk has multiple Ticketmaster accounts, which would be a violation of Ticketmaster’s terms of service, which limits individuals from having more than one account.
"We don't condone it and we are going to make sure that we don't have people that are clearly violating our policies,” Smith said of the video.
Ticketmaster is continuing to face fallout from the report with law firm Hagens Berman attempting to compile consumers for a class action lawsuit against the industry giant. The firm is seeking anyone who has purchased tickets from Ticketmaster’s resale site, TicketsNow, suggesting they may be due compensation for the ticketer’s alleged wrongdoing.
“Our firm hopes to achieve relief for the many Ticketmaster customers who purchased inflated resale tickets through TradeDesk and an injunction forcing Live Nation to end its secret scalping scheme,” the firms Ticketmaster’s TradeDesk Scalping Scheme page reads. “Hagens Berman believes that those who unknowingly paid high prices for scalped tickets facilitated by Ticketmaster deserve compensation for the wrongdoing and profiteering of this corporation.”
“The story is predicated on misinformation and a misunderstanding that paints the company very differently than it actually is. That's frustrating,” Smith told Billboard on Sept. 24 about the CBC report. “That being said, there's clearly some things that we're not doing well enough. We'll learn from it and we'll make some changes.”