Countless concertgoers and theater attendees have been all set to pull the trigger on a Ticketmaster purchase when exorbitant processing and service fees made them think twice. For all that went ahead with those purchases from 1999 to 2013, Ticketmaster is finally paying back out of its own court-ordered goodwill, though not without a catch.
The surge of vouchers — a $368 million value when all is said and done — comes from a now 13-year-old lawsuit, Schlesinger et al. v. Ticketmaster, initially filed over misleading descriptions of the ticket broker’s notorious service fees. Now that the company is paying out a minimum of $10 million in free concert vouchers (and many millions more in smaller fee waivers) and jilted consumers are ready to rake in the rewards, many are finding out about the strings solidly attached by Ticketmaster.
Per the terms of the settlement, Ticketmaster has the right to determine which shows are eligible for use with the vouchers, and it has limited the selection to acts playing in venues operated or owned by parent company Live Nation. The ticket seller also has to pay out a total of $42 million by 2020, and no single year can see less than $10.5 million flow from company coffers into consumers’ pockets. However, there are also a glut of smaller discounts of $2.25 and $5 that were also sent out, and though these require separate ticket purchases to activate, their cumulative total still counts against the dollar amount Ticketmaster is obligated to shell out.
It may be the same old tricks from the same old retailer, but Steven Blonder, principal at the firm Much Shelist and leading attorney in Schlesinger, told The New York Times that something objectively good has come about after everything.
“Since the lawsuit was brought, Ticketmaster has changed the way it describes its fees and charges on its website so we get more clarity and transparency,” Blonder said.
Not exactly “Hamilton” tickets, but it’s better than nothing.