More than 1,000 fans duped when Ticketmaster allegedly tricked them into paying double or triple the face value of Bruce Springsteen tickets have been sent claim forms, the Federal Trade Commission announced.
The FTC has mailed claim forms to 1,018 consumers eligible for refunds after being steered from the Ticketmaster website to its ticket resale website TicketsNow while buying Bruce Springsteen tickets last year. Ticketmaster and its affiliates agreed to reimburse the concertgoers to settle FTC charges that they used deceptive bait-and-switch tactics to sell concert tickets.
The claim forms were mailed to concertgoers who bought tickets for shows in 14 cities: Glendale, Ariz.; San Jose, Calif.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; Hartford, Conn.; Atlanta, Ga.; Chicago, Ill.; Boston, Mass.; Saint Paul, Minn.; East Rutherford, N.J.; Uniondale, N.Y.; Pittsburgh, Pa..; University Park, Pa..; and Washington, DC.
According to the February 2010 FTC complaint, from October 2008 to February 2009, the Ticketmaster website displayed a message that no tickets for Springsteen concerts were available and directed them to TicketsNow, where tickets were offered at prices that were sometimes double, triple, or quadruple the face value of the ticket.
The Boss was not amused by Ticketmaster's treatment of his fans.
"We were informed that Ticketmaster was redirecting your log-in requests for tickets at face value, to their secondary site TicketsNow, which specializes in up-selling tickets at above face value," Springsteen said in a statement on his website. "They did this even when other seats remained available at face value. We condemn this practice."
Although Ticketmaster initially tried to blame the incident on a computer glitch, the company changed its tune and issued an apology. LiveNation, which merged with Ticketmaster, issued the following statement:
"Live Nation is pleased with the terms of the Federal Trade Commission's announced settlement with Ticketmaster and TicketsNow. We are now ready to move forward and build a great company that serves consumers and artists with easy and transparent ticketing solutions," the company said. "We appreciate the FTC's diligence in closely investigating this matter and look forward to the Commission applying similar disclosure requirements to other leading players in the ticket resale sector."
Under the settlement, these concertgoers will get back the difference between what they paid for their tickets and what they would have paid on Ticketmaster. For example, a consumer who paid $400 for two tickets from TicketsNow that sold for $200 from Ticketmaster will get a $200 refund. Ticketmaster provided the FTC with a list that included the 1,018 eligible concertgoers who had not received refunds for the extra money they paid to buy the higher-priced tickets from TicketsNow.
All claims must be made by mail and postmarked on or before Oct. 8, 2010, and cannot be made online. A distribution date for the checks has yet to be set. If you received a claim form and have recently moved and would like to change the address the FTC has on file, send your new address to:
FTC v. Ticketmaster
Claims Administration Center
P.O. Box 1110
Corte Madera, CA 94976-1110
If you did not receive a claim form and believe you are entitled to a refund, call: 1-866-332-6536. For more information about this case, please visit the FTC's page on consumer refunds.
Duped Ticketmaster customers sent refund forms for Springsteen tickets