Competition Bureau concludes investigation into ticket scalper bots

From: Competition Bureau Canada

Bureau remains committed to advancing separate misleading advertising litigation against Ticketmaster

January 31, 2019 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau

Recently, allegations were made that Ticketmaster facilitated the mass scalping of tickets through the use of its software, TradeDesk. Generally, consumer protection and unfair business practices, including as they relate to ticket sales, are addressed at the provincial level. However, the Competition Bureau has examined the matter and has concluded that this conduct has not contravened the Competition Act.

Bureau investigators reviewed public allegations, complaints and other evidence including videos and the company’s websites. The Bureau also examined the company’s behaviour, its marketing practices and its interactions with other players.

At the same time, the Bureau is pursuing its ongoing litigation against Ticketmaster, Live Nation and affiliated companies. This legal action seeks to stop the companies from allegedly making deceptive claims to consumers when advertising prices for sports and entertainment tickets. The Bureau’s investigation found that the advertised prices are deceptive because consumers must pay additional fees that are added later in the purchasing process. Hearings are open to the public and are scheduled to begin in the fall.

“The Competition Act is the best tool to crack down on false or misleading representations, including misleading ticket price advertising. That’s why we sued Ticketmaster, and we remain committed to advancing our ongoing litigation.”

Matthew Boswell

Interim Commissioner of Competition

Quick facts

  • The scalper bot allegations were reviewed under the deceptive marketing practices, restrictive trade practices, and conspiracy provisions of the Competition Act.

  • Scalper bots or ticket bots are software designed to purchase a large amount of tickets for sporting or entertainment events when they first become available. Because tickets are purchased as they become available, there is a perceived scarcity, which may lead to increased prices for consumers.

  • Ticketmaster’s TradeDesk software allegedly allows users to synchronize their Ticketmaster accounts—where they buy tickets—with their online resale operations, allowing them to list tickets on the secondary market.

/Public Release. View in full here.