According to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, there is not a level playing field when it comes to buying tickets for popular concerts and sporting events.
Schneiderman was in Buffalo to announce the result of a multi-year investigation that found widespread consumer abuse in the sale of tickets.
"It uncovers what was a shadowy network, or has been up until now, a shadowy network of middlemen, brokers, ticket vendors and more who really used any means they can, some legal and some illegal, to jack up the price of tickets and squeeze money out of fans," said Schneiderman.
The report, titled "Obstructed View: What's Blocking New Yorkers from Getting Tickets?," found that over 50 percent of tickets to popular events are being withheld from the public for industry insiders and for special pre-sale events.
Investigators also found the alarming use of sophisticated and illegal "bot" programs that go online looking like a real person and are able to buy large amounts of tickets very quickly. Those tickets were then being turned around and sold by resellers with huge mark-ups.
"It took a single "bot" just a single minute to buy more than 1,000 tickets for a U2 concert last summer at Madison Square Garden. There is just no way ordinary fans can compete," explained Schneiderman.
The attorney general also found that ticket brokers are tacking on excessive fees. "Ticketmaster and Tickets.com can add on significant fees that can as much as double the price of the ticket," added Schneiderman.
As part of a crack-down on the abuse, two businesses that sold thousands of tickets to events in New York agreed to pay penalties for not having a ticket reseller license. MSMSS, LLC is paying $80,000 and Extra Base Tickets, LLC is paying $65,000.
Schneiderman is calling on state lawmakers to enact tougher laws and put back in place a price-cap. The Attorney General wants Albany to consider ending the state's ban on non-transferable paperless tickets as well as require more transparency about tickets that are being reserved.
Local promoters and members from the arts community were also at the press conference to explain how overpriced tickets take money out of the Buffalo economy and away from local artists and organizations.
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