April 20, 2007 11:12 AM PDT

Ticketmaster sues eBay's StubHub over sales tactics

Ticketmaster this week accused eBay's StubHub subsidiary of improperly obtaining and auctioning off premium seats to a spring concert tour featuring Lynyrd Skynrd.

In a complaint filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the West Hollywood, Calif.-based company claims StubHub has been interfering with its agreements with clients, which typically grant Ticketmaster exclusive rights to sell tickets for events to the general public and "generally" bar it from using the services of other ticketing companies.

StubHub was aware that Ticketmaster had such a deal with the Rowdy Frynds Tour but proceeded to indirectly or directly acquire tickets for those shows anyway and to market itself as the "official" provider of premium seats, according to the court filing by Ticketmaster, which is owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp.

Although the complaint focuses on the Rowdy Frynds tour, it claims StubHub has repeatedly sought to interfere in Ticketmaster contracts over the past two years as "part of a larger scheme to diminish Ticketmaster's role in the sale of tickets generally" and to sully Ticketmaster's reputation as a provider of the "best seats available."

StubHub, for its part, denied any wrongdoing. "StubHub believes the lawsuit filed by Ticketmaster is without merit and intends to vigorously defend itself against these unsubstantiated claims," spokesman Sean Pate said Friday.

Vector Management, the company that organized the tour, declined to comment on the suit.

StubHub, which eBay acquired earlier this year for $310 million in cash, bills itself as an online marketplace where music and sports fans can buy and sell tickets at "fair market value." The company announced in a press release last month that thanks to a "special partnership" with the Rowdy Frynds tour, which features Lynyrd Skynrd and Hank Williams Jr., it would be offering front-row seats through an "exclusive auction" and up to 100 seats in the first 10 rows for all 20 show dates.

According to Ticketmaster's complaint, Stubhub used "improper" tactics to steal away seats that should have been in Ticketmaster's inventory. Sometimes StubHub acquired the tickets by negotiating deals with artists for tickets, and at other times its representatives threatened venues that they would "not be chosen to host future events" unless they sold StubHub a certain number of premium seats, the complaint said.

Ticketmaster has asked that StubHub be ordered to pay back all of the money it has acquired through the allegedly "unlawful and improper business practices," along with punitive damages and a permanent injunction barring future improper sales. The complaint did not mention how many tickets were at stake.

The latest lawsuit appears to reflect the ticket titan's mounting frustration with secondary sellers it claims are interfering with the exclusive business deals it brokers with event venues.

Earlier this week, Ticketmaster also filed four separate suits in federal court in California. They target RMG Technologies, a company that allegedly makes software that allows users to grab large chunks of seats to be resold at a profit, and a number of individuals who allegedly employed bots and automated devices to access Ticketmaster servers in violation of the company's terms of service and federal computer crime laws.

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13 comments

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eh...
Sounds like Ticketsomethingorother is fading away... Maybe like the record companies... Not making enough money so its time to sue the competition.
Posted by Astinsan (132 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Am I supposed to cry for their monopoly?
I, for one, am glad there's competition.
Posted by paulreid99 (74 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Buying Tickets Sucks Anyways
It'd be nice if I, as a real concertgoer, would actually have a chance to get decent seats at a reasonable price before the brokers and resellers got their crummy paws on them. Maybe this is the start of something like that...
Posted by mwyner (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
so what
I have been so disgusted with trying to buy tickets that cost 4x more than they should and for very poor seats at that. Try to get good seats without paying a weeks wages is like trying to buy water in hell. As a result I plan never to go to a concert again. I know, it wont matter. There are more than enough people ready to use their CC to pay big bucks, cause they got big bucks the rest of us don't. But at least I wont be a part of the fleecing of poor people.
Posted by R Me (196 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pitty none of the SOB's
I tried to buy (again for the umteenth million times) some decent
seats for the RUSH concernt and got sh*t seats. (But at least I'm
going) I even sent Ticketmaster an email about this. Their just as
f*cked up as the rest. When AmericanExpress can let (their)
privileged view or any other (except radio in support of the artist)
buy tickets BEFORE the general population is NO DIFFERENT than
scalping!!! So Ticketmaster, get your Sh*t together FIRST before
accusing others. Ripoff! ATTENTION ALL ARTIST!!! Take control of
your business BEFORE you loose your FANS FOREVER!!!
Posted by appletoys (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ticketsheister needs a competitor!
I'm sick of the ever-increasing fees and ticket prices. Let's find a way to put Ticketmaster out of business! Boycott all TM events!
Posted by robbtuck (132 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Get Over It Ticketmaster
Tickets are a commodity that just like anything else should be bought and sold for fair market price. Besides the consumer will eventually find the fairest price especially with sites like <a href="http://www.tickex.com" target="_blank">Tickex</a> who tell you what all the primary and secondary vendors have in one place.
Posted by TicketSnob (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Stubhub sold me invalid tickets belonging, to James Manfredonia of NYC, to was on September 18th Yankees game. I have asked several times for an answer: Did they or the owner of the tickets commit fraud? No answer. Oh - they did send me a $200 credit. The cost of my trip exceeded $4k I do plan to submit a complaint to the NY Attorney General?s office. I hope this will work; I have my doubts. I see StubHub (an EBAY Co) donated to the AG?s political fund.
Posted by ColoradoJimH (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Blog Posting #2
Stephen Wichlac, Executive Customer Care Specialist from StubHub contacted me late yesterday ? by email (why no call?).

I found the timing to be odd. Could it be the result of the nearly 100 complaints I placed on blogs (including several financial sites and EBay's - the parent company) yesterday?

In his email he scolded me, stating I had not completed the proper paperwork. Of course I (I have proof) submitted the proper paperwork. It wasn?t easy though. I had to phone StubHub and secure a working fax number; the one on their form wasn't working!!

Wichlac claims: "From what we have been able to find, it sees that your seller originally purchased these tickets from another party and then resold them on our site."

I told Stephen via my email response that his problem isn?t my problem; they resold tickets from someone other than the owner. Premium tickets should be verified. Why didn't they contact the original owner and verify the tickets had not been stolen?

I am still open to hearing from hand from others re their experiences. I do plan to file a complaint with both the NY and CO AG office.

For those with a similar complaint, you know how difficult it is to locate someone at StubHub customer care. The number given to me was never answered. Twice when their person telephone and left a vm for me, she stated that I wouldn?t be able to phone back and leave a voice mail ? her voice mail didn?t work she warned (customer care?). Here is Stephen Wichlac?s contact information. Use it:

Stephen Wichlac
Executive Customer Care Specialist
swichlac@stubhub.com
Phone: 860.408.5812
Posted by ColoradoJimH (4 comments )
Link Flag
Blog Posting #2
Stephen Wichlac, Executive Customer Care Specialist from StubHub contacted me late yesterday ? by email (why no call?).

I found the timing to be odd. Could it be the result of the nearly 100 complaints I placed on blogs (including several financial sites and EBay's - the parent company) yesterday?

In his email he scolded me, stating I had not completed the proper paperwork. Of course I (I have proof) submitted the proper paperwork. It wasn?t easy though. I had to phone StubHub and secure a working fax number; the one on their form wasn't working!!

Wichlac claims: "From what we have been able to find, it sees that your seller originally purchased these tickets from another party and then resold them on our site."

I told Stephen via my email response that his problem isn?t my problem; they resold tickets from someone other than the owner. Premium tickets should be verified. Why didn't they contact the original owner and verify the tickets had not been stolen?

I am still open to hearing from hand from others re their experiences. I do plan to file a complaint with both the NY and CO AG office.

For those with a similar complaint, you know how difficult it is to locate someone at StubHub customer care. The number given to me was never answered. Twice when their person telephone and left a vm for me, she stated that I wouldn?t be able to phone back and leave a voice mail ? her voice mail didn?t work she warned (customer care?). Here is Stephen Wichlac?s contact information. Use it:

Stephen Wichlac
Executive Customer Care Specialist
swichlac@stubhub.com
Phone: 860.408.5812
Posted by ColoradoJimH (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Visit my site and read more.
http://stubhubsoldmeinvalidtickets.blogspot.com/
Posted by ColoradoJimH (4 comments )
Link Flag
i think that all tickets should be initially sold through ticketmaster at the retail value in order to give consumers an opportunity to buy the premium seats at the going rate. its not fair that they automatically get handed over to stubhub because not everyone can afford to pay $250 for a front row seat and they shouldn't have to if the retail value is much less.
Posted by xticketsx (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I just tried to get tickets to Ray Lamontagne on ticketmaster. Tickets do not go on sale officailly until Saturday. This is the 3rd day of a Pre-sale extended to AMEX customers (which i have mixed feelings about). THERE ARE NO TICKETS LEFT. There are however, plenty on the SCALPER SITE StubHub for twice the price.
HOW IS THIS LEGUAL??? WHAT AN ELETIST WORLD WE ARE LIVING IN!
Posted by jopenopy (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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