Baltimore resident Andre Bourgeois is standing up for the common man (and woman) and defending the right to buy reasonably-priced tickets. He is suing entertainment conglomerate Live Nation and Ticketmaster for overcharging him with service costs.
Steep Service Charges = Scalping
Two years ago, Bourgeois bought the Jackson Browne ticket for $52 from Ticketmaster. He then had to fork over an additional $12 for a service charge. The problem? Live Nation and Ticketmaster are not registered as official ticket agencies in Baltimore. Thus, the high service toll could be considered scalping, since city law only allows a 50-cent service fee over a ticket’s face value.
Lawsuit for the People
Bourgeois filed both an individual and a class action lawsuit, which means he’s acting on behalf of anyone who has purchased overpriced tickets from Ticketmaster in the past four years—so his last name is actually very apt!
As Bourgeois charges in the lawsuit, Live Nation “used their dominating market position in the business of ticket sales to impose service charges on top of the face value of tickets in violation of Baltimore City law.”
This isn’t the first time the company has been sued for its service fees; several lawsuits have been pursued over the years. In January, Ticketmaster settled a case similar to Bourgeois’ for $22.3 million. That case was not a class action from the start, though; Bourgeois’ lawsuit is.
What’s at Stake
The lawsuit is charging Live Nation and Ticketmaster with a total of 10 counts, including being in violation of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act and the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (or RICO, for short).
Bourgeois is not demanding a specific amount from Live Nation and Ticketmaster, but he is seeking compensation for service expenses as well as punitive and attorney charges. Additionally, his law firm estimates that the combined damages from those involved in the class act could exceed $5 million.
The case is still in the early stages, and it is unclear when the two sides will meet in court or what the outcome will be. We’re hoping it leads to clearer laws on ticket sales, and less exorbitant service fees. Vive la Révolution!
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