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A presale open to “verified” fans who registered in advance through Ticketmaster turned into a “ticket sale disaster,” which resulted in some people waiting in a virtual queue for up to eight hours and left “millions” of them unable to buy seats, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.
More than two dozen Swift fans filed a complaint in L.A. County Superior Court against Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation asserting claims including breach of contract, intentional misrepresentation, fraud, antitrust violations and unfair competition.
The presale, which was set for Nov. 15 and 16, was supposed to “level the playing field without racing against bots” but, instead, the fans say “Ticketmaster intentionally and purposefully misled ticket purchasers by allowing scalpers and bots access to TayloraSwiftTix presale.”
Swifties came in droves to buy tickets and Ticketmaster knew it didn’t have enough tickets to meet the demand — despite controlling who had access to the presale, according to the complaint. The company pre-approved “verified” fans and sent them a code that gave them early access to tickets.
According to the complaint, codes sent to 1.4 million verified fans allowed them purchase up to six tickets to three venues. “Ticketmaster did not have enough seats to meet the demand this number of codes would require,” states the complaint. “Ticketmaster intentionally provided codes when it could not satisfy ticket demand.” They also say that was compounded b the fact that an additional 14 million users were allowed in to what was supposed to have been an exclusive purchase window. All of this also resulted in the cancellation of the general sale, which had been set for Nov. 18.
The bad blood between fans and the platform isn’t new, but they’re not left with much choice.
“Ticketmaster has made agreements with the stadiums in every location of the Taylor Swift tour, and these stadiums are the only venues able to hold large concerts,” states the complaint filed by attorney Dennis B. Hill. “Because no other venue can hold half as many people as the stadiums and venues working through Ticketmaster, Taylor Swift and other popular musicians have no choice but to work through Ticketmaster. And because artists like Taylor Swift have to go through Ticketmaster, their fans do as well.”
This has resulted in higher prices in the presale, sale and resale markets, the fans say. And because Ticketmaster requires users who want to sell their tickets to use its platform it has “strived and succeeded in removing competition from both the Primary and Secondary markets.”
The fans are also pursuing a claim for price discrimination that targets Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing scheme, which “raises the prices of tickets as more tickets are selling.” The complaint argues that this results in comparable tickets being sold at “radically different prices” and “arbitrarily punishes the people that were unable to get to the front of the line.” They also allege that Ticketmaster allowed tickets to be resold during the presale “as if the tickets were at face value negotiated by Taylor Swift Management, when in fact they were double and triple the negotiated price.”
Swifties also cite issues with obstructed views, VIP packages, ADA-compliant seats — and not having adequate time to read the purchase agreement as “millions of fans making multiple failed attempts at ticket checkpoints to finish the purchase because tickets had been removed from their basket without adequate time to check out.”
Live Nation and Ticketmaster have not yet responded to a request for comment.
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