NY officials looking at Springsteen ticket availability

9 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AG Eric Schneiderman expresses concern over Bruce Springsteen ticket gouge.

Concert-ticket Web sites have become a “Jungleland” for Bruce Springsteen fans, as schemers are already selling tickets for his next tour for as much as $7,500 — even though tickets don’t go on sale until Friday. The New York Attorney General is investigating why so-called “speculative” tickets to a series of upcoming Bruce Springsteen concerts were listed for sale on websites owned by eBay and two other companies, according to letters seen by Reuters.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.

The letters to StubHub, TicketNetwork and Vivid Seats noted that tickets for Springsteen’s shows next month at Madison Square Garden are already being offered for up to $5,000. 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. 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. He vowed an investigation. “In many cases, consumers who purchase a speculative ticket do not receive the seats that were advertised and paid for,” he said. “In some cases, consumers receive no tickets at all.” The Boss will embark on a 22-stop US tour starting Jan. 16.

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. His 2012-13 tour pulled in $422 million — and ticket resellers are hoping to get a slice of that pie early by offering the early speculative tickets for massive markups. In 2009, New York lawmakers called for a federal investigation into Ticketmaster for sending Springsteen fans right to its secondary market site for the 2009 Working on a Dream tour.

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. 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. A spokesperson from Vivid Seats confirmed receiving the letter and said the company shared “the goal of ensuring a positive customer experience in ticket buying.” 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.

Friday, Dec. 11 through Ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster charge-by-phone 1-800-745-3000; Ticketmaster Express 866-448-7849; Ticketmaster outlets, and for the Newark show, the Prudential Center box office. Even though both The Post and the AG’s Office were able to find Springsteen tickets on StubHub, the site insisted there were no sales going on there. 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. 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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