Canada Slaps StubHub With $1.3 Million Fine Over ‘Misleading Pricing’ Practices
The government of Canada's Competition Bureau has fined ticket reseller StubHub Canada Ltd. and StubHub Inc. $1.3 million Canadian (USD $978,000) as part of an agreement "to correct what the Bureau…
TORONTO — The government of Canada’s Competition Bureau has fined ticket reseller StubHub Canada Ltd. and StubHub Inc. $1.3 million Canadian (USD $978,000) as part of an agreement “to correct what the Bureau concluded are misleading pricing claims” when it listed event tickets for sale, according to a release issued by the federal government.
The agreement is binding for 10 years.
The investigation found that online listings advertised did not reflect the true cost after fees were added in at the final stage of payment. The site now includes a filter option to show the price with estimated fees and the figures are in Canadian dollars.
“Unless consumers clicked or tapped to turn on optional filters to see prices inclusive of fees, those fees were only revealed at later stages of the purchasing process,” the release states. “The Bureau concluded that providing these optional filters and disclosing fees later in the process did not prevent the initial prices from being misleading.
“Moreover, the Bureau found that, in some cases, consumers who filtered results to see inclusive pricing were still asked to pay more than the prices shown as inclusive of fees.”
For now, StubHub, which was just acquired by fellow reseller Viagogo, will operate independently and a merger cannot occur until the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has completed its investigation. Integrated or not, the company will have to comply with Canada’s Competition Act.
As part of the agreement, to ensure compliance with the Act, StubHub will also establish a compliance program and implement new procedures to prevent misleading advertising.
In July 2017, the Bureau’s called on the ticketing industry to be upfront about prices and abolish hidden fees. In 2018, it ordered Ticketmaster Canada to pay a total of $4.5 million (then USD $3.44M) after its investigation revealed it topped up advertised costs by more than 20 percent — and sometimes as much as 65 percent.