Report reveals Ticketmaster has been running up ticket prices with their own scalping racket, company responds to accusations
An investigation jointly conducted by CBC News and the Toronto Star that ran earlier in the week accused Ticketmaster of orchestrating a covert ticket scalping system on its invite-only secondary ticket sale site, TradeDesk. CBC News and the Toronto Star alleged that two of their undercover journalists posed as scalpers at a live entertainment convention hosted during summer 2018, during which Ticketmaster personnel pitched their “underground professional resale program.” The Ticketmaster staff members present at the convention reportedly told the journalists that there are brokers with “literally a couple of hundred accounts” on TradeDesk. The Ticketmaster representatives allegedly also stated that the multiple accounts are not “something that we look at or report,” despite Ticketmaster’s support of its in house “buyer abuse” division designed to probe online ticket sales for suspicious or otherwise fallacious behavior.
The bombshell suppositions follow prior claims that Ticketmaster arms scalpers with bot software that scalpers to acquire large quantities of tickets, to then resell them at a much higher price, with the ticketing platform taking a cut of the final sum. Canadian radio host Alan Cross called the story a “public relations nightmare,” and told CBC that “previous whispers of this [had been heard] in the ticket selling community, but [had never been] outlined quite like this before.”
Ticketmaster has meanwhile announced that an “internal review” of its “professional reseller accounts and employee practices” is underway to verify that all of its polices “are being upheld by all stakeholders.” The events giant, an extension of the Live Nation umbrella, denied claims that it conspired with ticket scalpers to turn over a higher profit per ticket sold on the distributor’s “professional reseller” platform, TradeDesk. “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 statement reads. “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 detecting in order to amass tickets intended for resale,” Ticketmaster added.
Read Ticketmaster’s full statement below:
“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. 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.
A recent CBC story found that an employee of Ticketmaster’s resale division acknowledged being aware of some resellers having as many as 200 TradeDesk accounts for this purpose (TradeDesk is Ticketmaster’s professional reseller product that allows resellers to validate and distribute tickets to multiple marketplaces). We do not condone the statements made by the employee as the conduct 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. Moving forward we will be putting additional measures in place to proactively monitor for this type of inappropriate activity.”