An undercover investigation by daily newspaper The Toronto Star and Canadian public broadcaster CBC revealed the existence of Ticketmaster software that allowed scalpers to upload tickets to the secondary market, and has led to a Canadian law firm expanding its existing lawsuit against the ticket seller giant.
Reps for Merchant Law Group, based in Regina, Saskatchewan, told the Star that damages against Ticketmaster could exceed $100 million (CAD).
“It’s a result of the Star/CBC investigation that got us looking at whether we can advance a claim successfully for breach of competition and consumer affairs legislation,” Tony Merchant told investigative reporters Robert Cribb and Marco Chown Oved in Saturday (Sept. 22)’s follow-up story.
"We knew about the issues of scalpers. But we did not know there was evidence available of [Ticketmaster] working conjunctively with scalpers. Getting those things on camera are things a court will listen to … You’ve sent us back to the drawing board."
The evidence includes undercover video of Ticketmaster employees telling the reporters — who posed as scalpers at a Las Vegas scalper convention in July — that they promote their proprietary TradeDesk resale software to professional resellers. The intent was for the resellers to purchase and manage large quantities of tickets using multiple accounts, some running into the hundreds, and turn a blind-eye to the company’s own terms and conditions the general public must obey or risk having their order canceled.
Merchant Law Group’s original class action lawsuit, filed in January, alleges Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation inflates ticket prices. That same month the Competition Bureau sued both companies over allegations that they “employ deceptive marketing practices.”
Following the publication of the Star/CBC story on Sept. 20, Ticketmaster responded by announcing it had launched an internal review. Ticketmaster has "already begun an internal review of our professional reseller accounts and employee practices to ensure that our policies are being upheld by all stakeholders," according to a statement provided to Billboard. "Moving forward we will be putting additional measures in place to proactively monitor for this type of inappropriate activity."