Ticketmaster promises to change its ways

The Baltimore Sun

The New Jersey attorney general's office has reached a settlement with Ticketmaster over the recent sale of tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert there, calling for major changes in how Ticketmaster does business.

The settlement - announced yesterday, a day before hearings open in Washington on the proposed merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation - requires Ticketmaster to reform several of its business practices, in particular with regard to its ticket resale operation, TicketsNow.com.

New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram said her office received more than 2,000 complaints from would-be ticket buyers after Springsteen tickets went on sale this month. Many said that upon logging in to Ticketmaster's Web site, they were advised that no tickets were available and then were redirected to TicketsNow, where seats were being offered at prices above face value.

The settlement provides for a random drawing from which 1,000 consumers who filed complaints with the attorney general's office will be selected and allowed to purchase a pair of tickets to shows Springsteen will play in May in his home state.

Additional compensation will be offered to people who aren't selected in the drawing, and Ticketmaster will institute changes including a one-year moratorium on directing Ticketmaster.com users to TicketsNow.com.

Under terms of the settlement, Ticketmaster admits no liability.

The drawing and refunds are specific to the ticket sales for two New Jersey concerts, but other aspects of the agreement relating to TicketsNow.com will apply nationwide.

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