The Competition Bureau, an independent Canadian law enforcement agency that makes sure businesses operate in a fair and competitive manner, is suing Ticketmaster over the company's deceptive ticket prices. The system, which has been labeled "drip pricing", forces customers to pay more than the face value of tickets.
According to multiple outlets, the investigation found that advertised prices are deceptive because consumers wind up paying additional fees added later in the purchasing process, which they referred to as "drip pricing".
One of the Competition Bureau's roles is to promote truth in advertising by discouraging deceptive business practices.
Ticketmaster, says the bureau, has made the alleged deceptive claims - which include service fees, "facility charges" and order processing fees - on several of its websites, including ticketmaster.ca, ticketsnow.com and ticketweb.ca, as well as on mobile apps.
The bureau seeks to have the actual price, including what is now broken out in fees, listed for consumers, and to end the practice of listing a price without fees.
In an e-mailed statement, a company spokesperson told The Globe and Mail that the company "remains committed to getting tickets into the hands of fans and has long practiced transparency to enable informed purchasing decisions".
The case against the ticket sellers is consistent with action that the bureau has taken in other industries dating as far back as 2011, said Anita Banicevic, a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP in Toronto.
The Bureau's legal action against Ticketmaster comes seven months after ticket vendors were issued a warning to review its marketing strategies.
"To promote continued innovation and growth in the digital economy, it's critical that consumers have confidence that the prices they see online are the ones they will pay", competition commissioner John Pecman said in a press release.
The company added it is working closely with provincial governments to enhance consumer protection.
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