Springsteen fans must get refunds

Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:06pm EST
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By Yinka Adegoke

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Thousands of Bruce Springsteen fans will receive refunds for what the U.S. Federal Trade Commission called deceptive sales practices by TicketsNow, a ticket reselling unit of Ticketmaster, the FTC said on Thursday.

The FTC said Ticketmaster, which is now part of Live Nation Entertainment Inc, will repay fans "upward of a million dollars" in refunds after it used "deceptive bait-and-switch tactics" to sell tickets at 14 Springsteen concerts last year.

The FTC was inundated with complaints last year when people trying to buy Springsteen tickets from Ticketmaster were redirected to TicketsNow, at prices that were as much as three or four times face value.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz told reporters on a conference call that the investigation into the practices of the ticket reselling due to the Springsteen complaints had uncovered "pretty shocking" practices.

One such practice was that TicketsNow sold "phantom tickets" without telling the consumers they did not actually have the tickets, but were hoping to get them.

The FTC said TicketsNow was also not fully refunding fans for the premium-priced tickets it could not deliver.

In connection with the settlement, the FTC sent letters to all major ticket resellers on Thursday demanding better transparency in dealing with fans.

"Clearly consumers deserve better," said Leibowitz in a statement. "They deserve to know what they're buying, including the risk that their tickets won't materialize."   Continued...