Ticketmaster Agrees to Refund Service Fees Improperly Charged in Connection with Sale of Tickets for Hippodrome Theatre
News Release, Office of the Maryland Attorney General
BALTIMORE, MD (June 18, 2020) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has entered into a settlement resolving an investigation into Ticketmaster’s improperly charging consumers service fees in connection with sale of tickets for events at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland.
Ticketmaster, a subsidiary of Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., operates a website through which it manages ticket sales for live entertainment and events throughout the United States and abroad. Typically, Ticketmaster charges consumers a service fee on top of the listed price for an event ticket. However, when the Hippodrome Theatre changed its sales model to require all fees be included in the listed price of its tickets, Ticketmaster’s policy enabled it to continue charging service fees for the secondary sale of tickets (i.e., resales by original ticket purchasers on the Ticketmaster website).
After the Hippodrome instituted its new policy, Ticketmaster added a disclosure stating that consumers purchasing tickets for events at the Hippodrome would not pay additional fees. Ticketmaster did not charge additional service fees above those reflected in the ticket price for individuals who bought primary sales tickets. However, consumers who purchased tickets through secondary resales erroneously received the same disclosure, yet were still charged a fee as high as $31 per ticket. As many as 4,176 consumers who purchased resale tickets were charged this service fee despite the disclosure. Under the settlement reached with the Attorney General, Ticketmaster has agreed to refund all of the fees that were improperly charged to consumers.
“We were able to resolve this matter so that consumers will get back fees that they should not have been charged,” said Attorney General Frosh.
The settlement also contains an injunction that requires Ticketmaster not to mislead consumers regarding the fees it charges, and Ticketmaster will pay the Consumer Protection Division $25,000 for its investigative costs. Consumers should be receiving refunds directly from Ticketmaster within thirty days, either as credits on the same credit cards they used to purchase tickets or a check from Ticketmaster. Consumers who are owed refunds from Ticketmaster may call the Consumer Protection hotline at 410-528-8662 or 888-743-0023.