LOS ANGELES (CN) - Angry fans filed an antitrust class action claiming that TicketMaster has ratcheted up its monopolization of U.S. ticket sales at concerts and "events" by scalping its own tickets: selling "huge quantities" to its subsidiary, TicketsNow, at the moment tickets go on sale, then marking up prices by "hundreds or thousands of dollars."
Lead plaintiff Ellen Diamond claims TicketMaster launched the scheme after failing to squelch online scalpers such as StubHub through legislation and litigation.
Sellers in the "secondary market" for tickets allegedly used RMG Technology software to buy tickets every 10 seconds, up to 8,000 times per day, then sold the tickets with huge mark-ups.
Diamond says TicketMaster used an "if you can't beat them, join them" approach, and bought TicketsNow, formerly the largest secondary seller after StubHub.
TicketMaster events sometimes sell out now "within seconds" of going on sale, Diamond says. She claims the TicketMaster Web site tells fans that tickets are "unavailable" or offers bad seats before redirecting them to the "wildly marked-up" tickets at TicketsNow.
TicketMaster profits twice through the scheme, the class claims: once when TicketMaster sells huge swaths of seats to TicketsNow, and again when it keeps 15 percent of TicketsNow sales.
TicketMaster has been on the receiving end of a long line of antitrust lawsuits since Pearl Jam began the tradition in 1994. In that case, the court did not deny the band's claim that the ticket giant held a monopoly, but found that music venues, rather than bands, should be the proper plaintiffs because the venues were on the losing end of TicketMaster's actions.
The class demands an injunction and damages for monopoly of the secondary market for ticket sales and business law violations. It is represented in Federal Court by Paul Kiesel with Kiesel Boucher & Larson.
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