Ticket Resale Market Shake-Up: TicketNetwork’s Fined $825,000 For Misleading Consumers

TicketNetwork has agreed to pay an $825,000 penalty to settle concerns raised by the Competition Bureau regarding misleading advertising practices in the online resale of tickets for concerts, sports, theatre, and entertainment events.

The Competition Bureau’s investigation revealed that TicketNetwork engaged in drip pricing, advertising tickets at prices that were unattainable. The company promoted tickets with unrealistic discounts. The investigation revealed that consumers were unable to purchase tickets at the advertised prices and discounts due to TicketNetwork’s imposition of mandatory fees. These additional fees amounted to more than 38% on average and, in some cases, over 53% of the advertised prices.

Additionally, TicketNetwork was found to have promoted tickets to Canadian events in American dollars without clearly identifying the currency in the sale prices. The investigation also uncovered the use of misleading digital content, including search engine ads and website URLs, creating the false impression for consumers that they were buying directly from the venue, artist, or sports team when, in reality, they were purchasing resale tickets.

In response to these findings, TicketNetwork has entered into an agreement with the Competition Bureau, which includes the following commitments:

Payment of Penalty: TicketNetwork will pay a $825,000 penalty.

-Drip Pricing and Discounts: The company will refrain from drip pricing and promoting unobtainable discounts.

-Currency Transparency: TicketNetwork will identify the currency in advertised prices, mainly when promoting tickets to Canadian events in American dollars.

Misrepresentation Prevention: The company will not misrepresent resale websites as venue, artist, or sports team websites.

-Compliance Program: TicketNetwork will establish a compliance program and implement new procedures to ensure adherence to the law and prevent advertising issues in the future.

Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell emphasized the importance of businesses displaying the total price of their products upfront and being accurate and clear in their advertising. He highlighted the need for ticket vendors to make truthful pricing claims and for resellers to refrain from misrepresenting themselves as primary vendors.

This settlement comes after recent Competition Act amendments explicitly recognized drip pricing of mandatory charges or fees as a harmful business practice. The Competition Bureau’s actions against misleading advertising in the ticketing industry have resulted in over $6 million in penalties for Ticketmaster, StubHub, and TicketNetwork since 2019. The Bureau has also taken action in the car rental industry, securing close to $6 million in total penalties from major companies such as Avis/Budget, Hertz, Enterprise, and Discount for their engagement in drip pricing.