Lawsuit Claims Ticketmaster/Live Nation Is A Fee-Hungry Monopoly

A new class-action lawsuit is seeking to prove in a court of law what many people already believe — that the Live Nation/Ticketmaster combination is an unfair monopoly intent on using exorbitant fees to siphon off cash from customers.

“This case has been brought to find a common answer to a lingering legal question,” says the plaintiff in the case, which has been filed in Federal Court. “Can monopolist Live Nation overcharge ticket buyers with add-on fees to event ticket prices rather than selling tickets using a clear and conspicuous ‘all-in’ price?

“Plaintiff brings this case to determine once and for all if defendant’s practice of charging add-on fees is an unfair business practice and whether defendant must use ‘all-in pricing.’”

See, Ticketmaster has long been the dominant ticket seller for major concert venues. And Live Nation is not only the owner and operator of many of the country’s biggest venues, it also promotes the tours and in some cases acts as management for the touring artists. So when these two companies merged a few years back, it lots of people crying monopoly.

The complaint alleges that the union of these two companies allowed Live Nation to “directly sell tickets to concerts that it promoted,” giving the promoter “unilateral power to raise the price of tickets in a dominant segment of the market for concert tickets.”

“Defendant has not made a clear, simple transaction for the consumer,” reads the complaint. “Defendant continues to use their monopoly market power to charge unfair fees and refuses to provide consumers with a clear simple transaction through implementation of ‘all in’ pricing. Due to lack of competition created by the merger defendant has been non-responsive to consumer demand and has extracted unfair overcharges in the form of add-on fees to ticket prices.”

The suit seeks an injunction barring Live Nation from charging add-on fees, and restitution under California unfair competition law.

A previous class-action suit against Ticketmaster alleged that the company’s delivery fees were excessive. The company eventually agreed to settle the case, but that settlement is still seeking final approval from the court.

Class Slams Live Nation as Nationwide Ticket Monopolist [CourthouseNews.com]