Ticket resellers settle misleading advertising charges

(July, 24 2014) — If you’re looking to score tickets for a sporting event, concert, play, or other entertainment event, you might start with the venue that’s hosting the event, right? Well, that’s what some consumers thought they were doing. But looks can be deceiving.

TicketNetwork — the third largest online exchange for resale event tickets in the U.S. — and two of its largest sales partners have agreed to settle FTC charges that they allegedly misrepresented that they were entertainment venues offering tickets at face value. TicketNetwork, Ryadd, Inc., and Secure Box Office, LLC allegedly used advertising techniques that misled people to believe they were buying event tickets from the primary seller at the face value price. In fact, they were resale tickets often at a higher cost — sometimes much higher — than face value. The tactics included designing search engine ads and corresponding websites that used names and URLs that mimicked genuine venue names, and combining these with words and phrases like “official” and “box office” to make it appear that these were the official venue or official artist websites.

These companies have now entered into settlements with the FTC barring them from misrepresenting that a resale ticket site is a venue ticket site or is offering tickets at face value.

Consumers purchase tens of thousands of tickets each year, through a variety of sellers. Many ticket sellers run similar ads. If you’re looking for original box office tickets, don’t assume that the first ad is the actual venue; compare sites to be sure. And, if you’re looking for resale tickets, shop around to compare ticket terms and prices.

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