Concertgoers Seek Ticketmaster Terms of Use Click Rates in Antitrust Class Action

Ticketmaster
Courtesy of Ticketmaster

Concertgoers suing Ticketmaster and Live Nation over live event ticket fees believe no one actually reads the terms of service that bind them to arbitration and are asking a California federal judge for discovery that could help them prove the websites' formats are to blame.

Olivia Van Iderstine and Mitch Oberstein in April sued Ticketmaster and its parent Live Nation claiming the companies have a monopoly on live events and therefore can charge "extraordinarily high fees" for tickets.

The companies responded in June with a motion to compel arbitration. They argue that in order to buy tickets through their sites users have to affirmatively agree to their terms of service at least three times — and those terms include a mandatory arbitration provision and a waiver of class action rights.

Now, the plaintiffs are asking the court to allow them to conduct discovery to determine whether a valid arbitration agreement exists so they're prepared to oppose the motion to compel. They believe the website and mobile app are formatted in a way that users clicking to proceed with their purchases doesn't actually amount to them accepting the terms.

"As they have in other cases, Defendants argue that Plaintiffs agreed to arbitration clauses that are buried in Terms of Use on www.ticketmaster.com, www.livenation.com, and the Ticketmaster mobile application," writes attorney Frederick Lorig. "The Terms of Use are presented to users in a 'browsewrap'-type format that does not affirmatively require consumers to read the Terms, or indicate they have read them, before making a purchase."

The plaintiffs want Live Nation and Ticketmaster to turn over the total number of times users signed into ticketmaster.com and the Ticketmaster mobile app from January 1, 2010 to present and the number of times users clicked to view the terms of use on the site and in the app during the same time period. They also want interrogatories on the subjects and depositions of the defense witnesses who provided declarations in support of the motion to compel.

"Plaintiffs intend to show on opposition that ticketmaster.com and livenation.com are designed in a way to actively dissuade consumers from knowing or understanding that the Terms of Use are something they can or should read," writes Lorig. "If it turns out that, as Plaintiffs suspect, the vast majority of users do not view the Terms of Use, that would tend to show that the website and app provide insufficient notice of the Terms of Use, and thus the arbitration agreement contained in it."

Read the full motion at THR.com.

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