House committee launches probe into live event ticket companies

House committee launches probe into live event ticket companies
© Greg Nash

The House Energy and Commerce committee announced a probe into Live Nation and other top online ticket sale companies on Thursday.

A press release from the committee announced that letter had been sent to Live Nation as well as StubHub, Tickets.com, Anschutz Entertainment (AEG), and several other top companies requesting information into what lawmakers on the committee led by Chairman Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills Key negotiator says deal close on surprise medical bills legislation House Democrat presses Google executives for answers on handling of health data MORE (D-N.J.) described as potentially deceptive practices.

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"The Committee, which has broad jurisdiction over consumer protection issues, is concerned about potentially unfair and deceptive practices occurring in the primary and secondary ticket marketplace, many of which have been documented in consumer complaints, press stories, and government reports,” read the letter.

“Many of these issues relate to a lack of transparency and fairness, which places purchasers at an unfair advantage when attempting to buy tickets in the current marketplace," it continued.

In particular, the lawmakers pointed to "high, hidden fees" and speculative tickets as putting consumers at a potentially undue risk of unfair treatment.

"[D]espite ongoing bipartisan efforts by the Committee, as well as federal agency action to better understand the current ticketing marketplace, consumers still face a host of troubling practices and trends in the ticketing industry,” the committee leaders added.

A request for comment from Anschutz Entertainment from The Hill was not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.

“Ticketmaster looks forward to participating in this examination of the ticketing marketplace to identify opportunities to protect consumers and content creators alike. We support legislative and regulatory solutions that stop the deceptive practices and fraudulent activities that plague our industry and harm consumers," a Ticketmaster spokesperson told The Hill.

“StubHub applauds the Committee’s investigation into the live event ticketing industry. We share the Committee’s interest in addressing anti-competitive practices. We believe that a fair and competitive ticketing industry unequivocally supports the interests of fans. We look forward to being a partner in this process," added a StubHub spokesperson.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. on 11/22/19