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Division of Consumer Affairs
Press Release

Attorney General
Anne Milgram
Division of Consumer Affairs, Director
David Szuchman
   
For Immediate Release:
February 26, 2009 
For Further Information Contact:
Jeff Lamm, 973-504-6327
 

Attorney General Announces Settlement with Ticketmaster on Sale of Springsteen Tickets
Tickets will be made available for thousands of consumers shut out by Ticketmaster and steered to a more expensive ticket re-sale website

Attorney General Anne Milgram announced today a settlement with Ticketmaster to resolve more than two thousand complaints filed by consumers with the State Division of Consumer Affairs this month in connection with the sale of tickets to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concerts scheduled for May at the Izod Center in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The agreement also mandates reforms to Ticketmaster's business practices.

The settlement creates a random drawing for 1,000 consumers who filed complaints against Ticketmaster with the Division of Consumer Affairs as of last Tuesday, February 17 th, to purchase two tickets each to one of the two concerts scheduled for May 21 st and May 23 rd at the Izod Center.

In addition, those consumers who filed complaints but are not chosen in the random drawing for the opportunity to purchase tickets to the May concerts will be given a $100 Ticketmaster gift certificate and will be given the opportunity to purchase two tickets to a future Springsteen concert in New Jersey prior to a general ticket sale.

For those consumers identified by the state and Ticketmaster whose credit cards were charged for ticket purchases but the transactions were never completed because of technical problems, Ticketmaster agreed to complete the transaction and provide consumers with the tickets.

For those consumers identified by the state and Ticketmaster who within the first five hours that tickets went on sale went from the "No Tickets Found" page of Ticketmaster's primary website to Ticketmaster's wholly-owned subsidiary TicketsNow.Com and purchased tickets at a higher price, Ticketmaster agreed to refund the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the tickets.

The settlement, known formally as an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, places a wall between Ticketmaster and its ticket re-selling subsidiary TicketsNow.com for at least a year for all shows and entertainment events Ticketmaster handles. After the conclusion of the year, Ticketmaster will need prior approval from the Attorney General for any links between its "No Tickets Found" Internet page to its TicketsNow re-sale website.

Ticketmaster agreed not to engage in paid Internet search advertising that would lead consumers searching for "Ticketmaster" on Internet search engines to its TicketsNow re-sale site. In addition, Ticketmaster confirmed and agreed that all tickets it receives for sale to the general public will be sold on its primary market website. Ticketmaster also agreed not to allow the sale or offer of sale of any tickets on the TicketsNow.com re-selling website until the initial sale begins on its primary website.

"This settlement swiftly and fairly resolves a significant issue for thousands of loyal Springsteen fans in the Garden State who believe that Ticketmaster tilted the playing field against their efforts to purchase tickets to the May concerts," Attorney General Milgram said. "Everyone deserves an equal chance to buy tickets on a primary ticket selling website and shouldn't be steered to a re-selling website where the prices can be substantially higher."

"Because of the excellent cooperation of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the agreement will make tickets available for many of those who filed complaints with the Division of Consumer Affairs as of last week," Milgram added. "I also want to thank Bruce Springsteen and his management in our efforts to hammer out this agreement. He was as outraged as anyone over the circumstances surrounding the sale of tickets to his concerts."

"Significantly, Ticketmaster has agreed to change its business practices and not allow any link from its No Tickets Found Internet page to re-sale Internet sites for at least one year, and after that any proposed linkage will not be permitted unless approved by my office," she said.

Dennis Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, said, "On behalf of our Chairman, Commissioners and staff whose dedication to customer service have made the IZOD Center one of the world's most successful concert venues, we deeply appreciate the Attorney General's commitment to bringing about a solution to the issue which occurred with these ticket sales."

The 2,000 tickets – 1,000 tickets for each show – are being made available for purchase through the random drawing by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. All Ticketmaster fees and service charges will be waived.

An investigation by the Attorney General and the Division of Consumer Affairs into Ticketmaster's sales practices began with the immediate uproar over the sale of Springsteen tickets when they were made available for sale on Feb. 2. The Division of Consumer Affairs created a link on its website to receive complaints. As of Tuesday, Feb. 17, approximately 2,200 complaints were filed concerning the Springsteen concerts. Complaints filed by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, will be covered by the agreement.

Consumers complained that sales were blocked on the Ticketmaster website and they were re-directed to the ticket re-selling website called TicketsNow.com where tickets were available at substantially higher prices.

The state receives a settlement of $350,000 to cover investigative, attorney and administrative fees and to support New Jersey consumer protection initiatives.

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