– The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on Thursday that it has
settled charges against Ticketmaster and affiliates over "deceptive
bait-and-switch tactics" used in selling tickets to a series of Bruce
Springsteen concerts last year. The FTC alleged that Ticketmaster redirected
consumers seeking tickets to the shows to TicketsNow, a secondary marketplace
where some were charged double, triple or quadruple the face value of tickets.

The FTC said Ticketmaster also failed to tell consumers that some of these
resale tickets "were being sold speculatively — that is, they were merely
offers to try to find tickets."

Some Springsteen fans paid for tickets in
February for a show in May in D.C. that never materialized, and the FTC says
Ticketmaster kept the sales proceeds for more than three months without a
reasonable basis for believing it could fulfill those orders.

sold phantom tickets without letting consumers know that the tickets did not
exist. Then, the company held onto consumers’ money, sometimes for months, when
it knew those fans weren’t going to see Springsteen," said FTC chairman
Jon Leibowitz said. "Clearly consumers deserve better."

Under the
terms of the settlement, consumers who have not previously received a refund
will get back the extra money they paid to buy higher-priced tickets from

The FTC is using purchase information from TicketsNow’s database,
and expects refunds to become available in six months.

The FTC also said it is
sending a warning letter to other ticket resale companies whose practices may
violate the law.


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