Published 11:27 PM EDT Sep 20, 2018
Ticketmaster is calling reports of collusion with ticket-scalpers "categorically untrue."
CBC News and the Toronto Star allege a company executive acknowledged to undercover reporters at a Las Vegas ticket convention that some resellers have hundreds of TradeDesk accounts, a program Ticketmaster developed that helps scalpers buy and immediately resell large quantities of tickets at a higher price.
"We do not condone the statements made by the employee as the conduct described clearly violates our terms of service," the company said in a statement to USA TODAY Thursday.
Ticketmaster confirmed TradeDesk is a "professional reseller product that allows resellers to validate and distribute tickets to multiple marketplaces." The program syncs a user's account to third-party resale websites, allowing scalpers to instantly transfer tickets purchased from Ticketmaster to the likes of StubHub and Vivid Seats to make a profit.
Ticketmaster gets a portion of the resulting profit. The sales giant generates fees from every “verified resale” ticket sold through TradeDesk on their site, in addition to the commission from the original price of the ticket.
The new revenue comes at the expense of regular consumers who are shut out of first-round sales and forced to pay a higher price for a concert or sporting event on the secondary market, an issue Ticketmaster has publicly vowed to fight.
The company, which is owned by Live Entertainment, partnered with Taylor Swift last year to get "tickets into the hands of fans, not scalpers or bots," through an exclusive verified fan program.
According to the company's Seller Code of Conduct, users are prohibited from "purchasing tickets that exceed the posted ticket limit for an event."
The sales giant says fake accounts created to bypass ticket limits are forbidden, contradicting a resale executive who reportedly told the undercover journalists, "I have brokers that have literally a couple of hundred Ticketmaster accounts."
In its statement Thursday, Ticketmaster continued: "The company had already begun an internal review of our professional reseller accounts and employee practices to ensure that our policies are being upheld by all stakeholders. Moving forward we will be putting additional measures in place to proactively monitor for this type of inappropriate activity."
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