My Friday Five: The Ticketmaster Farce

Photo: Chris White

This week’s Friday Five is all about a story that may very well affect many of you – and one that gave me plenty of frustration entertainment this week.

1. The Ticketmaster Settlement

This past weekend, I discovered several articles online that reported Ticketmaster is finally executing its settlement of a 2003 class action lawsuit (Schlesinger et al. v. Ticketmaster). The suit was filed alleging the ticketing giant had failed to disclose to customers all the details of its UPS and Order Processing Fees. With the settlement, fans who purchased tickets through Ticketmaster from 1999-2013 – which is probably a lot of us – should have received discount and free ticket codes on their Ticketmaster accounts. I checked my account and I had several vouchers, both for free tickets and discounts. Naturally, I was excited, but that excitement quickly turned into frustration. A frustration I shared with millions of other loyal customers.

2. The Problem

For starters, the free ticket vouchers could only be used for general admission tickets to events approved by Live Nation/Ticketmaster, as provided by a list of eligible events on a microsite dedicated to the settlement. When it was first published, the list included a dumpster fire of shows, from country and cover bands to acts I may have wanted to see if it was 1999 (Kool & the Gang, really?). There was a very – and I mean very – light sprinkling of big names like Bob Dylan but most of those shows would be a 100+ mile trek unless you were fortunate enough to live in the particular city where the show was happening. In fact, less than half of the contiguous United States were included on the list when it was initially released and it hasn’t gotten much better.

3. What About North Carolina?

It wasn’t – and still isn’t actually – great for North Carolina, either. Raleigh got a “whopping” 15 shows, with the majority of those being at Walnut Creek Amphitheater, and a few at The Ritz, a standing room only venue. Meanwhile, Charlotte got more than double the shows than Raleigh although Raleigh has plenty of venues and upcoming events. When I’d heard about the settlement, I envisioned using a set of vouchers on the Phillip Phillips show at Red Hat Amphitheater in Raleigh this July. To my disgust, the show wasn’t included on the eligible events list but the Charlotte show was. How do you explain that? There’s not a snowball’s chance in Hell that I’m getting free tickets for a show and spend even more on travel and other expenses.

4. But That’s Not All

In addition, customers are continuously having issues redeeming their vouchers. Just look up Ticketmaster on Google or check out the company’s Facebook page to see what I’m talking about. I didn’t bother redeeming my vouchers as there wasn’t a show on the list you could pay me to see.

5. More On the Way?

I emailed Live Nation, Ticketmaster and the settlement administrator, Garden City Group, to express my displeasure with the settlement process and haven’t heard back from any of them. I’m not surprised as other fans have experienced the same. Combine the voucher fiasco with the unresponsiveness and I have a feeling that more litigation is forthcoming. One thing’s for certain, Ticketmaster will no longer enjoy my business after being a loyal customer for 10+ years.

Thanks for Reading

P.S. Stephen Colbert ripped Ticketmaster on The Late Show Thursday night. Check it out in the video below!

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