(CN) – Ticketmaster has agreed to refund the extra money Bruce Springsteen fans paid through TicketsNow.com for 14 concerts in 2009, the Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday. The refunds settle charges that Ticketmaster and its affiliates used deceptive bait-and-switch tactics to get more money for the tickets.
According to the FTC, Ticketmaster’s Web site displayed the message “No Tickets Found” when tickets went on sale Feb. 2, 2009 for 14 Bruce Springsteen & The E Street band concerts last summer.
The FTC said Ticketmaster’s site deceptively steered customers to its affiliate, TicketsNow.com, where tickets were offered at much higher prices, sometime triple or quadruple the face value.
Ticketmaster used the same tactic for other events between October 2008 and February 2009, the agency claimed.
“Buying tickets should not be a game of chance,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement. “Ticketmaster’s refrain is that it sold through TicketsNow to give consumers more choices. But when you steer consumers to your resale Web sites without clear disclosures, and they unknowingly buy tickets at higher prices, they’ll be left with a sour note.”
The FTC also accused TicketsNow of selling speculative tickets, or charging customers for simply trying to find them tickets.
“TicketsNow.com sold phantom tickets without letting customers know that the tickets did not exist,” Leibowitz said. “Then, the company held onto consumers’ money, sometimes for months, when it knew that those fans weren’t going to see Springsteen.”
Under the settlement, Ticketmaster will get refund the extra money fans paid for the higher-priced tickets on TicketsNow.com. So, if a buyer paid $400 for two tickets that would have cost $200 on Ticketmaster, the buyer will get a $200 refund.