A lawsuit alleges that Ticketmaster partakes in unfair business practices by encouraging scalpers to buy tickets in bulk, and then resell those tickets, a practice that enables Ticketmaster to collect a fee on the original sale plus the resale of the ticket.

The proposed class action lawsuit on behalf of live event consumers against Ticketmaster, a subsidiary of Beverly Hills’ Live Nation Entertainment Inc., was filed in Northern California federal court Sept. 28.

The complaint seeks to stop Ticketmaster from its alleged work with scalpers, and repay consumers for money lost in additional fees.

“Companies should treat consumers fairly,” reads the opening of the lawsuit filed by Hagens Berman Sobel Shapiro, a prominent plaintiff-side law firm. “But a company fails at this when it accepts kickbacks for secretly facilitating a shortage of its product and then a sale by a third party at a higher price.”

The action comes two weeks after the Toronto Star published an article in which reporters went undercover in Las Vegas as scalpers.

According to the Star, Ticketmaster officials informed them of a professional reseller program in which Ticketmaster partners with scalpers. The purported program runs contrary to Live Nation’s stated position that it is working to rid the live concert industry of scalpers.

A message left with Live Nation Oct. 1 was not immediately returned.

Media and entertainment reporter Matthew Blake can be reached at (323)556-8332 or mblake@labusinessjournal.com

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