June 26th, 2019

Scalpers on the loose

By Medicine Hat News Opinon on October 9, 2018.

Music fans have long been suspicious and angry when tickets to Vancouver concerts by acts such as the Eagles and Pink sell out in minutes and scalpers seem to reap the rewards. They have more reason to be skeptical after new revelations about Ticketmaster’s practices.

An investigation by the CBC and the Toronto Star is alleging that Ticketmaster has been actively recruiting scalpers to buy up its tickets and resell them at higher prices on Ticketmaster’s own website. The company, of course, takes a cut on both sales.

According to the reports, the company allows scalpers to use a program called TradeDesk to buy up lots of seats from Ticketmaster, then resell them for inflated prices. An undercover reporter recorded a Ticketmaster representative saying the the company would look the other way if scalpers used several false identities to buy the tickets.

Ticketmaster has denied doing anything illegal, but frustrated customers have too often seen sought-after tickets disappear from the website only to reappear shortly after at far more than face value. One $325 Taylor Swift ticket was offered for $66,000.

Canada’s Competition Bureau said it would investigate the allegations against Ticketmaster, after Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains called the agency to express his concerns.

In B.C., the provincial government held consultations in March about possible legislation to cap resale prices and control the use of bots that buy up tickets for resale. But Alberta, Quebec and Ontario have all backed off promised price caps.

The new investigation should spur the province to take an even harder look at the ticket industry.

— (Victoria) Times-Colonist

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