It will soon be easier to figure out who you're buying tickets from online. A new million-dollar settlement will require resale companies to make it clear that you're buying from them and not the actual venue.
Today's announcement relates to a 2012 Department of Consumer Protection report to the Connecticut General Assembly regarding customer confusion between ticket resale Web sites and the box offices for sports and entertainment venues.
The Attorney General's office joined a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission against South Windsor-based TicketNetwork and two other companies.
The ticket resale market is a $15-billion business and TicketNetwork is a leading marketplace that matches buyers and sellers from around the world. The complaint calls out the companies for misleading consumers in violation of the Unfair Trade Practices Act, by making it appear that they are buying tickets from official venues.
Attorney General George Jepsen says the consent order issued in the case is meant to put an end to any deceptive practices and to change the way the companies do business going forward.
“There's truth and transparency on websites where they have to represent they are a resale site not an official site. They cannot use the word 'official' or mimic other websites and they have to make it clear and very explicit that may be charging higher than the actual price," says the Attorney General.
As part of the settlement, defendants neither admit nor deny any of the allegations in the complaint.
The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters reached out to TicketNetwork today for reaction to the consent order and the company sent us a statement that reads in part:
“We worked closely with the FTC and the DCP to develop disclosures and advertising practices for our Private Label clients, to ensure better information is provided to ticket-buying customers. We [also] developed a plan to monitor our clients to ensure adherence to the newly established disclosures and advertising standards."
A TicketNetwork spokesman says that the with settlement behind them, the company intends to continue to grow its business in Connecticut.
In the meantime, the state will put the $1.4 million from this settlement into a consumer protection fund to be used for enforcement, education and complaint resolution.