Hours before Live Nation and Ticketmaster revealed final merger plans, an Ontario man filed a class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster in Canada after he was maneuvered to the secondary ticket site TicketsNow while trying to buy seats for a Smashing Pumpkins show in November 2008. In a situation eerily similar to the one that plagued Bruce Springsteen fans last week, the $410 million lawsuit alleges Henry Krajewski was redirected to TicketsNow after failing to buy C$66.50 (Canadian dollars) Smashing Pumpkins tickets; he instead paid C$533.65 for a pair of tix using the TicketsNow site as prompted by Ticketmaster. Ontario is a province where there are laws against reselling tickets on the secondary market at more than their face value, according to Billboard.biz.
During today's merger phone conference, Live Nation's Michael Rapino spoke out against the suit, saying "class action lawsuits have no merit, it's like chasing cars down the road." Referring to Ticketmaster's problems regarding redirects to TicketNow, he added, "There was actually a glitch in the system that had nothing to do with availability of the tickets, it had to do with Visa [credit cards] that couldn't process the data and so it froze the system." Several hours after Rapino made these statements, Ticketmaster issued a revised statement that places the blame on its own software, rather than a specific problem with Visa.
"There were people who misunderstood what we did and we said if anyone who brought tickets at a higher price we'd make them good for that. There was no real controversy here," he said during the conference. "The issue is that there is a secondary market. That has existed for a long time, now it's called secondary, it used to be called scalpers, that is a reality. It has been the reality for a very long time and in which all sorts of practices go on. What Ticketmaster has done in entering the business is try to make it transparent and will continue to make it more and more transparent and make it secure."
Rapino admitted that there have been some "hiccups" in the system, as Phish and Springsteen fans can attest, but "we are adjusting daily to make sure our system can handle our summer load and it will be business as usual."
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