Ticketmaster settles class-action lawsuit
Customers are entitled to a refund, but no details have been announced yet.
Ticketmaster has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleged its order-processing fee was a "profit component" unrelated to actual expenses and that its UPS delivery option included an artificial markup.
The suit was originally filed in Los Angeles in October 2003. It was broadened to a class action late last year to include anyone who purchased tickets through Ticketmaster.com from October 1999 through May 2010.
The settlement was revealed in a routine SEC filing by Live Nation Entertainment, Ticketmaster's parent company.
Consumers who qualify as plaintiffs will be entitled to receive a cash payment from Ticketmaster or discounts off future ticket purchases. Details about how to apply have not yet been announced.
The company said it had "not acknowledged any violations of law or liability in connection with the matter, but have agreed to the settlement in order to eliminate the uncertainties and expense of further protracted litigation."
Ticketmaster has long been the source of consumer complaints about high service fees and other allegedly abusive charges and activities. The merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster was slowed last year by congressional inquiries and an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and 17 states.
As a result of the combined federal and state efforts, the newly combined company was required to make significant changes to the merger agreement.
"Our office became concerned that Live Nation and Ticketmaster would be the only option to get tickets to concerts when they announced their merger," said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley in January 2010. "We are pleased with (the) settlement, which should create a more competitive ticketing market."
At issue was competition and the price consumers have to pay for tickets. In 2008, Ticketmaster had 80% of the primary ticketing services market. Ticketmaster and Live Nation -- Ticketmaster's primary source of competition -- announced plans to merge in February 2009.
In 2009, the state of New Jersey reached a settlement with Ticketmaster to resolve more than 2,000 complaints from consumers who said they were unfairly denied tickets to two concerts by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
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