So I asked Ticketmaster spokesman Albert Lopez about the experience of a Baltimore-area grandmother who tried to buy Disney on Ice tickets online from Ticketmaster.
She was shocked to find out later that she had actually bought from TicketsNow, Ticketmaster's scalper site, for much more than face value.
"When I read your article about TicketsNow scalper site, I realized we, too, had been directed to TicketsNow and were charged exorbitant prices for those tickets," she wrote. "I figure we were overcharged $17 per ticket, not counting fees, for a total of $136. What a racket!"
Lopez says TicketsNow is clearly marked as separate from Ticketmaster, but he said some people are confused by the Internet generally. "I've got to tell you, I think it's a generational thing," he said. For most people, buying tickets online "is very plain and straightforward." If they aren't comfortable with the Web, he says, people should buy by phone or at the box office.
So it's the woman's fault that she paid $136 more than the tickets were supposed to cost.
I guess the numerous young people who have told me similar stories are likewise to blame. The relationship between Ticketmaster and TicketsNow is rife with conflicts of interest. This week, there are congressional hearings on Ticketmaster's proposed merger with Live Nation. Maybe they'll get into the TicketsNow problem, too.