It’s a “Cruel Summer” for Swifties who couldn’t get Eras Tour tickets. Now some of them are suing Ticketmaster.
Ticket buyers allege that Ticketmaster orchestrated its Eras Tour ticket fiasco in order to increase profits, and that its arbitration clause makes it impossible for aggrieved fans to get relief.
If you sat in an online Ticketmaster queue, hoping to grab an elusive, coveted ticket to the 2023 Eras Tour, you’re not alone. Not even a little bit alone—more than 2.4 million tickets were sold in just the first day of sales. But T-Swizzle might be just the tip of the legal iceberg for Ticketmaster.
Ticketmaster is a near-universal ticket marketplace, where consumers can purchase verified tickets for events large and small. Although people complain about Ticketmaster fees, they’re assured of receiving legitimate, official tickets.
Why are consumers suing Ticketmaster?
But... why would you need to sue Ticketmaster in the first place? Some consumers claim that Ticketmaster has monopolistic practices. They claim that Live Nation, which is the world’s largest event promoter and is partnered with Ticketmaster, violates anti trust and consumer protection laws because its events exclusively use Ticketmaster for access. The plaintiffs claim that because there is no competition, Ticketmaster can add “supracompetitive fees” to ticket sales because the customer has no other means of purchasing tickets.
Let’s talk about Taylor…
In November 2022, 3.5 million people registered for Ticketmaster presales to buy tickets for the upcoming Eras concert tour. Unprecedented demand for tickets reserved for “verified” fans caused the Ticketmaster website to crash, and there was an “insufficient remaining ticket inventory” as a result. Therefore, Ticketmaster canceled ticket sales to the general public.
But as it turned out, even the verified fans didn’t get what they were owed. Ticketmaster admitted that a tremendous number of bots and scalpers had purchased tickets during the presale event. Only 1.5 million actual fans purchased tickets during the presale and two million were placed on waitlists. The unlucky tens of thousands of fans who couldn’t purchase tickets through Ticketmaster bought tickets through the resale market or from scalpers, so they paid double (or more!) the original prices. Many fans sued Ticketmaster, claiming that it was a scheme for the company’s own profit.
However, because of the company’s arbitration clause, its lawyers contend that the company can’t be sued. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that a class action lawsuit should be permitted to proceed for an antitrust claim.
Ticketmaster and LiveNation class action lawsuit
A class-action lawsuit is one claim for many people with similar complaints.
Typically, plaintiffs will join a class action if there are so many individuals with the same complaint that it makes more sense for them to file a single lawsuit. The questions of law or fact are common to all the members of the class and the representative protects the interests of the class. If the lawsuit is successful, the financial award is split among the plaintiffs.
While LiveNation’s legal team claims that the class action against the company is “wasting the Court’s time”, lawyers for the class action plaintiffs see it differently. The plaintiffs are asking Ticketmaster to award at least $2,500 in damages to each of them. The lead plaintiff’s argument is that the case is for the purpose of allowing “everyday fans” a better chance to attend events with their favorite artists.
The plaintiff, Julie Barfuss of Salt Lake City, said that she tried 41 times on the first day of sales to purchase tickets. She said the system kept kicking her out of the queue and she had to log back in and try again repeatedly. She tried again the second day. When she finally made progress in purchasing tickets, they were selling for $1,400 apiece. There are about 340 plaintiffs with similar claims.
The lawsuit also mentioned that Taylor Swift, herself, had no choice but to use Ticketmaster as the method of sales for her tickets because of the company’s agreements with the large stadiums hosting her tour.
It continues to say that the company intentionally misled presale ticket holders because codes were provided to more verified fans than there were seats available. Millions of fans tried for up to eight hours to purchase tickets online, but it’s alleged that Ticketmaster intentionally provided codes when it could not satisfy the demand. Ticketmaster responded that the Verified Fans system is designed to eliminate bots because it provides presale codes to individuals, but that it could not keep up with the demand.
Where does the Ticketmaster lawsuit stand now?
…. Ready for it? (wink, wink) (Reputation, 2017)
Legal battles are ongoing at the time of this writing. As far as future TayTay concerts and Ticketmaster are concerned, we wouldn’t say we’re Never Ever Getting Back Together, just yet. Ticketmaster and LiveNation remain a strong alliance, and they are partnered with the large stadiums and venues nationwide.
But fans aren’t ready to Shake It Off just yet; there’s still Bad Blood between fans and Ticketmaster, and Congress might end up taking action on the monopoly and antitrust claims.
The plaintiffs’ demand is for the difference in price that they paid for tickets and what they would have paid if the presales had been honored, plus $300 for punitive damages. If you believe you’re eligible to be part of a class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster/LiveNation related to the Eras Tour Taylor Swift tickets, contact an attorney for more information and your legal options.