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Manitoba woman sues Ticketmaster

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A Manitoba girl thought she was getting a deal when she bought four tickets online to Carrie Underwood’s concert last December at the MTS Centre for what she thought was a total of $193.

But her mother was shocked when she later learned her credit card account had been dinged for more than $1,000 from a TicketMaster subsidiary, TicketsNow.


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The girl had joined thousands of other concert fans who purchased tickets to an event at an inflated price from Tickemaster’s subsidiary, TicketNow.

Last week, the girl’s mother initiated court action in the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench against Ticketmaster and its related companies — Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc., Ticketmaster Canada Ltd, Tnow Entertainment Group Inc., and Premium Investory Inc — claiming the company violated a section of Manitoba’s Amusement Act. It states that no person shall sell any ticket for a price higher than its paid value.

Tickets to the Underwood concert were listed at $57 each, but the girl’s mother was ultimately billed $252.51 for each ticket — an overcharge of $195.51 for each ticket.

Ticketmaster is the exclusive distributor of tickets to all events at the MTS Centre and many concert venues across North America. It routinely adds in additional charges for such things as printing costs and site fees on top of the ticket price.

But lately, concertgoers across North America have found that when they log in to the TicketMaster website and try to buy tickets to an event, they are directed to another website, TicketsNow, which sells tickets to the same events for a vastly inflated price.

That’s what happened to the Manitoba girl.

She and her mother could not be reached for comment this morning.

The practice drew international attention when megastar Bruce Springsteen complained when Ticketmaster did the same thing with one of his recent shows in New Jersey. That prompted ticket buyers in the U.S. to launch a class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster, The Justice Department of New Jersey also launched an investigation.

Ticketmaster announced Monday that as a result of the New Jersey investigation, it would change its selling practises. Ticketmaster said a software glitch was responsible for redirecting ticket buyers from its own site to TicketsNow. The company did not admit any wrongdoing, but agreed to pay the state of New Jersey $350,000.

Ticketmaster agreed to compensate ticket holders who complained and change how it handles secondary sales, but would not say if it was changing its selling practises in Canada.

Two class-action lawsuits have been initiated in Canada against Ticketmaster for tickets sold on or after Feb. 9, 2007, anywhere in Canada.

A $500-million suited filed Feb. 9 accuses the company of violating Canada’s anti-scalping laws by conspiring to divert ticket buyers from its main website to TicketsNow. A second, $250-million lawsuit launched three days later targets the extra fees tacked on when customers purchase tickets through the company’s website.

Law firms in Ontario and British Columbia are handling the class action suit.

People interested in joining the class action can find more information on the website You’ll need ticket stubs or other documentation to prove you purchased the concert tickets.

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