Ticketmaster denies colluding with scalpers to boost profits

Ticketmaster on Friday denied allegations that it allows scalpers to break its own rules against ticket resale limits and said it would launch an internal review to determine if any policies were broken.

The ticket marketplace was accused of colluding with scalpers after an undercover investigation by CBC and Toronto Star journalists. Two Ticketmaster employees were caught on video telling reporters that some scalpers who use TradeDesk, an Ticketmaster-owned online platform through which event tickets can be purchased for re-sale, were able to bypass the purchase limits designed to protect customers by opening hundreds of accounts – with the company’s knowledge.

“It is categorically untrue that Ticketmaster has any program in place to enable resellers to acquire large volumes of tickets at the expense of consumers,” the company said in a statement. “Ticketmaster’s Seller Code of Conduct specifically prohibits resellers from purchasing tickets that exceed the posted ticket limit for an event. In addition, our policy also prohibits the creation of fictitious user accounts for the purpose of circumventing ticket limit detection in order to amass tickets intended for resale.”

According to the joint investigation’s findings, the Ticketmaster employees said the company ignores fraudulent accounts in order to earn commissions on the ticket resales. Ticketmaster earns revenue from the original ticket sale and by taking a commission on the resale.

“I have brokers that have literally a couple of hundred Ticketmaster accounts,” one Ticketmaster salesperson told an undercover reporter at a Las Vegas ticket industry event last July. “They have to because if you want to get a good show and the ticket limit is six or eight (seats), you’re not going to make a living on eight tickets.”

Ticketmaster said it does not “condone the statements” made by an employee cited in the original report, adding that the conduct the employee described “clearly violates our terms of service.”

“The company had already begun an internal review of our professional reseller accounts and employee practices to ensure that our policies are being upheld by all stakeholders,” the company said. “Moving forward we will be putting additional measures in place to proactively monitor for this type of inappropriate activity.”