Ticketmaster Pays $50,000 Fine, Closes More Than 100 Deceptive Site

Ticketmaster will pay a $50,000 fine and shutter more than 100 deceptive brokerage sites as part of a wide-reaching agreement with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Madigan’s office accused Ticketmaster’s always shady subsidy, TicketsNow, of creating sites that masqueraded as local venues selling tickets at face value. The settlement also requires TicketsNow to wait until after Ticketmaster puts non-sporting events on sale before hawking tickets at outrageously inflated prices.

As part of the agreement, TicketsNow will cease operating any Web sites that have misleading domain names and will refrain from affiliating with any Web sites that use similarly deceptive tactics. As a result of Madigan’s investigation, TicketsNow has already disabled more than 100 suspect Web sites.

“Our investigation revealed that consumers who purchased concert tickets at TicketsNow Web sites often believed they were purchasing tickets from the actual event operators for their original value,” Madigan said. “This agreement will substantially impact how the TicketsNow online brokers market popular event tickets so that consumers clearly understand that they are making purchases from a ticket reseller at marked-up rates.”

In the course of the investigation, Madigan’s office determined that TicketsNow, which is based in Rolling Meadows, Ill., was operating hundreds of affiliated ticket resale Web sites with misleading domain names that incorporated into the Web site URLs unique names of local venues, sports teams or performers. The TicketsNow-affiliated Web sites failed to clearly state that they were ticket resellers and had obtained tickets from secondary sources, such as season ticket holders, event promoters and venue operators, in advance of the public sale. As a result, consumers did not realize that they were ordering marked-up tickets from a TicketsNow-affiliated reseller.

The wires aren’t yet saying how long TicketsNow will need to wait before reselling tickets at inflated prices.

This isn’t the first time Ticketmaster has been pressured into abandoning questionable business practices. Back in February, Ticketmaster settled a complaint from New Jersey’s Attorney General by agreeing to stop linking directly to TicketsNow. It just goes to show how many questionable practices Ticketmaster exploits.

MADIGAN: TICKETMASTER AGREES TO SHUT DOWN DECEPTIVE TICKET BROKER WEB SITES (Press Release) [Illinois Attorney General]
TicketsNow, Illinois Atty Genl Reach Agreement On Marketing [The Wall Street Journal]