Milgram sues ticket vendors

Ashley Stinnett Jun. 1, 2009, 3:58pm

Anne Milgram (D)

Newark, N.J.(Legal Newsline)-New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram is seeking legal action against five ticket vendors for allegedly violating the state's Consumer Fraud Act.

For the last several months, investigators from the Division of Consumer Affairs have been examining ticket sale prices and seating information from Select-A-Ticket, Inc, Orbitz Worldwide, Inc, and TicketNetwork, Inc.

The tickets were being sold for three upcoming Bruce Springsteen concerts to be held at Giants Stadium.

Among the defendants were two New Jersey-based companies -- Almost Backstage, Inc and Ticket Town, Inc. Milgram claims price hikes and the selling of seats that do not exist prompted the investigation.

"Selling something that you don't have and ultimately might not be able to provide to the purchaser is fraud," Milgram said in a statement. "Our investigation into the ticket sales industry, and how these sellers can advertise and sell tickets before the tickets actually go on sale to the public, is widening."
The suit claims Ticket Town, also known as, and Almost Backstage, sold around 44 tickets higher than face value price, as well as, seating information not yet made available to the public.

Information was provided to the state by undercover investigators posing as ticket buyers.

"Advertising and selling tickets before they are made available for initial purchase by the public is an outrageous practice. It is fraud to offer to sell a product that one does not possess, and may never possess, and I am committed to ending this deceptive practice," Milgram said.

Tickets for the fall Springsteen concert were scheduled to go sale beginning Monday.

The state is currently seeking reimbursement for consumers affected by the prices, as well as, civil penalties and compliance with state law and regulations. It is also seeking to revoke Almost Backstage's ticket broker licensing.

"These firms cannot offer to sell specific seats that haven't gone on sale and will not actually be available for purchase until June 1. We will continue to dig deeper into the working of ticket sales industry and stop fraudulent activity," said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director, in a statement.

The state has ordered Ticketmaster conduct initial sales for the two Springsteen concerts scheduled for Giants Stadium on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2 and 3.

Earlier this year, Milgram's office sued Ticketmaster Entertainment and its subsidiary TicketsNow, after more than 2,000 complaints were received for redirecting concert ticket buyers to a Web site with higher prices.

The state eventually settled out of court. Ticketmaster paid about $350,000 in fines and legal fees.

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