Online ticket exchange TicketNetwork Inc. and three other companies have settled a legal dispute that should make it easier for consumers to know they are buying tickets on the secondary market, not directly from events, Connecticut's attorney general and consumer protection commissioner said Thursday.
The two officials said Connecticut-based TicketNetwork, a subsidiary and two affiliated companies agreed to not use the names of theaters, stadiums or other entertainment venues. Also named were TicketNetwork's subsidiary, TicketSoftware LLC and two partner companies, Ryadd Inc. and SecureBoxOffice LLC.
The companies also agreed to not deceptively use pictures, logos or descriptions of venues.
"We pursued this action to bring some needed transparency to secondary ticket market transactions," said William Rubenstein, the state's consumer protection commissioner.
TicketNetwork did not immediately return a call or respond to an email seeking comment. A telephone listing could not be found for Ryadd Inc. The phone was not answered at Ticket Software and only recorded messages were available at Secure Box Office.
TicketNetwork's website advertises tickets to major league baseball, professional wrestling, concerts for Cher and Paul McCartney, theater tickets for The Lion King and Las Vegas shows.
The state accused TicketNetwork of using website designs, web addresses and words like "official" tickets and falsely creating the impression that its online ticket sites were official websites for the venues or other entities authorized to sell tickets. Instead, the websites were secondary market sites reselling tickets, often at higher prices, Jepsen and Rubenstein said.
The state said the alleged actions are violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act and Federal Trade Commission Act.
TicketNetwork and the others who are part of the settlement must disclose on the ticket listing page and payment authorization page of their ticket sale websites that the site is a resale ticket marketplace and not a venue or box office, the ticket price may exceed face value and that the website is not owned by the venue, team, performer or promoter, according to the settlement.
Ryadd Inc., a partner of TicketNetwork and Ryadd co-owners Ryan J. Bagley and Charles A. Lineberry were ordered to pay $550,000 to Connecticut and SecureBoxOffice LLC, also a TicketNetwork partner, and owner James Moran were ordered to pay $100,000.
In addition, TicketNetwork Inc. and TicketSoftware LLC were ordered to pay $750,000.
TicketNetwork and the state had agreed to a $7.75 million loan package for the company in 2011 in exchange for job creation as part of a signature economic development program of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's. The company withdrew from the program in 2012 after its CEO was arrested on accusations of hurling a racial insult at a bouncer at a party.