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Ticketmaster has proposed a $400 million settlement with 50 million customers over misleading fees.
Plaintiffs in the class action suit against Ticketmaster, now owned by Live Nation, complained as early as 2003 that the "order processing fees" and "delivery fees" were not spent on those services, but actually just being pocketed by the company. The Hollywood Reporter claims the settlement would cover customers who paid these fees from October 1999 through February 2013.
But where would this multimillion-dollar settlement money go?
Customers who were duped into thinking that "convenience fees" or "facility fees" were anything other than an extra profit center for Ticketmaster might feel validated by this settlement. However, it may disappoint them to know that the best it has to offer is in the form of tickets and ticket discounts.
According to THR, the settlement will include:
Ticketmaster has also agreed to change its language to clarify that the "order processing" and "delivery charges" may include a profit for Ticketmaster. (The company is a bit late to the hidden-fees party, as most airlines and even competitor StubHub have made their pricing schemes more straightforward.)
The proposed settlement also includes close to $15 million in lawyers' fees, but the entire deal still needs to be approved by a judge before it is final.
Prior Ticket Settlements
Ticketmaster isn't the first to offer free tickets in order to appease its angry customers. A separate settlement approved in a class action suit against Live Nation -- which now owns Ticketmaster -- involved dishing out three free lawn tickets to New Jersey concertgoers for the next four years, in addition to ticket discounts.
In a 2010 settlement over Bruce Springsteen tickets, fans of "The Boss" were offered their money back after being duped by a ticket bait-and-switch.
It would be tempting to say that Ticketmaster has learned its lesson about ticket pricing policies, but it would be better advice to warn ticket purchasers to be incredibly wary of the fine print.