New York Looks Into ‘Speculative’ Ticket Resellers

9 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AG Eric Schneiderman expresses concern over Bruce Springsteen ticket gouge.

Tickets for Bruce Springsteen’s 2016 tour will not go on sale until Friday, but hundreds of seats have already been listed for up to $5,000 or more on StubHub and other resale sites — listings that have drawn the attention of the New York attorney general in the latest volley over the $8 billion ticket scalping business.When Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band come to Times Union Center on Feb. 8, don’t be surprised to hear “You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch),” a comically cautionary song about consumerism from The Boss’ 1980 album “The River.” In anticipation of what’s sure to be an online stampede to secure tickets to that show and four other New York dates, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants to send the same message to Springsteen’s fans about so-called “speculative” concert tickets. Schneiderman’s office on Tuesday sent letters to three popular online ticket resellers asking about possible speculative ticket sales to Springsteen’s in-state concerts. The letters — sent to StubHub, TicketNetwork and Vivid Seats — note that all three sites prohibit the listing of speculative tickets, yet they are currently advertising tickets to the concerts at exorbitant prices, including as high as $5,000 for the show here.

Resellers, the letters say, offer the tickets despite not having them on hand with the idea they will purchase them at a lower price from a different source before selling them for profit. “Speculative ticket sales also drive up prices for consumers, and often cause widespread confusion and frustration among consumers, who wonder how tickets can appear on the resale market before tickets are released to the public,” he added. The letters ask that the brokers remove the speculative tickets from the site, asks how the tickets got on the site, and what the site does to protect consumers from speculative tickets. “They’re selling tickets which they don’t have yet, by taking the seating chart on our website and saying, ‘I’ve got this seat and this seat,’” said Blue Cross Arena Manager Jeff Calkins. “Then they contact the buyer after they get the tickets and say, ‘I haven’t got section 104, but I’ve got section 107.’” The ticket broker pockets the difference between the true ticket price and what the customer paid for the ticket. And, Calkins warns, if the tickets from this transaction don’t arrive in the mail, the Springsteen fan is left with no recourse the day of the show, since the tickets were purchased through a second party. “I had one lady call me this week who said she had tickets in Section 32 and said, ‘Those look like pretty good seats,’” Calkins said. “I said, ‘Well, there is no Section 32.’” While the Attorney General’s Office has issued consumer alerts in the past regarding heavily marked-up tickets for high-interest events for sale on the Internet, according to a spokesman in Schneiderman’s office this appears to be the first time that the state has directly approached Internet sites about speculative tickets. Schneiderman’s office asked the companies to review the listings on their sites for Springsteen’s upcoming concerts in New York and remove all speculative ticket listings.

It is unclear whether the sites themselves, or brokers using the sites to sell the tickets, could be the target of a consumer fraud investigation by the attorney general. In a statement, StubHub, which is owned by eBay, said it was reviewing the attorney general’s letter, but that it has “no reason to believe that there are speculative tickets” on its site and that the company offers refunds or replacements for any invalid tickets. Other issues will include how speculative tickets are identified, what steps are taken to remove them from the sites, and if there are any consequences for the sellers. In 2009, Ticketmaster customers complained that the site had pointed them without their knowledge to TicketsNow, then TicketMaster’s online resale site, where tickets were being scalped well above face value. The original deregulation was scheduled to sunset in 2010, but its provisions have been extended annually since then despite protests from opponents such as state Sen.

Daniel Squadron, who has made a tradition out of delivering a pop-song-referencing speech on the Senate floor of the chamber. “V-to-the-izz-O, T-to-the-izz-E/Now’s the time, Mr. Since then, Live Nation has pursued the secondary ticket market aggressively, and for many concerts it lists new tickets alongside others that are being offered for resale. Recently Adele released tickets for sale in Europe using Songkick, a concert listing and ticketing site, and announced that “the resale of tickets will not be tolerated.” According to Songkick and Adele’s manager, that system kept most of the first batch of tickets out of resale markets.

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