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Ticketmaster denies report it recruits scalpers to cheat resale system

Ticketmaster denies an undercover report it is colluding with ticket scalpers. (Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Ticketmaster is denying an undercover report that the box-office giant is recruiting professional scalpers to cheat its own system as a way to make more money off resale tickets.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation went undercover at a ticket industry convention in Las Vegas, where Ticketmaster was trying to increase its ticket resale business.

CBC reporter David Seglins said after years of opposing ticket reselling, Ticketmaster is now trying to maximize its own resale business.

“Not just their face value tickets, but also their resale tickets, are right beside each other on the very same website, they’re scalping their own tickets,” said Seglins in an interview on a CBC news show. “They stand to not only get fees when they sell it to the scalper, and the scalper reposts it to their resale site, they’re double dipping.”

And Seglins said Ticketmaster is now facilitating scalpers flaunting the company’s own policy that limits the number of tickets resellers can purchase.

The CBC said company representatives told them Ticketmaster’s resale division turns a blind eye to scalpers who use ticket-buying bots and fake identities to buy tickets for resale.

Within the last year Ticketmaster launched a web-based inventory management tool called TradeDesk, which allows them to quickly upload tickets just purchased from Ticketmaster to the reseller’s site.

“It was designed especially for professional scalpers, to help them move huge inventories,” said Seglins.

Equipped with hidden cameras, Seglins asked if Ticketmaster would be policing resellers who use multiple accounts.

“They said we’ve got people who have hundreds of Ticketmaster accounts, in fact most of the box office clients knowingly have hundreds of ticketmaster.com accounts to buy tickets,” said Seglins.

Seglins asked the salesperson from Ticketmaster’s resale division how many brokers were using multiple accounts. The answer: “I’d say pretty damn near every one of them.”

In a statement printed in Variety, Ticketmaster said, “We do not condone the statements made by the employee as the conduct clearly violates our terms of service.”

The company denied it is encouraging resellers to break company rules.

“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,” they said.

Ticketmaster said it “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.”


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