Ticketmaster accused of cutting secret deals with scalpers who often cheat customers

Ticketmaster Secretly Aligns with Scalpers Report

CREDIT Matt Cardy Getty Images

This investigation was sparked by Ticketmaster's previous attempts to sue groups that used bots to hoard live event tickets with intent to resell, which had brought Ticketmaster under fire for allegedly supplying scalpers with bot software themselves. Ticketmaster representatives told the journalists that its resale division doesn't report scalpers who use bots and fake identities to buy several tickets and resell them at a higher price on the site. He believes total damages to Canadians could be upwards of $100 M. The scalpers then sell those tickets at inflated prices on TradeDesk. "It's not something that we look at or report". When the owner posted it for resale for $400 on Ticketmaster, the company stood to collect an additional $76 on the same ticket.

As gatekeeper to the entertainment industry's most coveted events, Ticketmaster implements strict purchasing limits created to prevent scalpers from using bots to buy tickets on a mass scale.

Ticketmaster's terms of use say customers can't "order a number of tickets for an event that exceeds the stated limit for that event".

In footage obtained by the journalists, a man purported to be a TradeDesk sales representative told them that the resellers he works with have "literally a couple of hundred" Ticketmaster.com accounts apiece - a violation of Ticketmaster's own terms of use - through which they can buy huge swaths of tickets for resale, and that Ticketmaster's "buyer abuse" division does not investigate at least some TradeDesk users. "In addition, our policy also prohibits the creation of fictitious user accounts for the goal of circumventing ticket limit detection in order to amass tickets intended for resale", the statement read. The CBC continues to state that Ticket Master actively encourages scalper activity by reducing their cut when a seller sells more than one million dollars in tickets annually.

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Amplify spoke to a source at Ticketmaster who described the Sun story as inaccurate and said that Ticketmaster offers tickets on both the primary and secondary market to keep up with consumer demand.

A 2009 Blockbuster sign advertising Live Nation's ticket sales, publicized shortly before the latter company's merger with Ticketmaster. In addition, our policy also prohibits the creation of fictitious user accounts for the objective of circumventing ticket limit detection in order to amass tickets intended for resale.

"They have a secret scalper program that they don't talk about in any corporate reports", said CBC investigative reporter Dave Seglins.

Robert Cribb explains why and how reporters get hidden camera footage. When Prestige Entertainment was sued by Ticketmaster last October, the online ticket broker shot back with counterclaims of its own.

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