Attorney General Letitia James this week resolved a lawsuit against ‘TicketNetwork,’ ‘Ticket Galaxy,’ and their owner Donald Vaccaro for tricking tens of thousands of unsuspecting customers into purchasing tickets to concerts, shows, and other live events the sellers did not actually own.
Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants will be forced to pay $1.55 million and adopt reforms designed to protect ticket purchasers in the future.
The settlement is still subject to court approval.
“Because of their dishonest practices, these companies defrauded thousands of New Yorkers and duped customers into spending millions of dollars on speculative tickets,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “We are holding these companies accountable for their deceptive practices that swindled New Yorkers out of their hard-earned money and are putting in place reforms to protect ticket buyers in the future.”
More details from the Attorney General’s Press release:
Central to the lawsuit was the sale of “speculative tickets” — offers by ticket resellers to sell tickets that they did not actually have. Only after a consumer placed an order for speculative tickets did the listing broker attempt to purchase real tickets, at a lower price, from a different source to provide to the buyer.
In fact, often, Ticket Galaxy and other brokers listed tickets for popular events before tickets to those events had even been released for sale to the public. During this period — when few other tickets were available — the demand for tickets was so great that Ticket Galaxy and other brokers charged enormous premiums for tickets, at times hundreds or thousands of dollars above face value. The broker then kept the difference between the price they actually paid and the price at which the speculative ticket was sold to a consumer.
Additionally, Ticket Galaxy, specifically, routinely misled customers in cases where they could not ultimately provide a ticket, in an effort to avoid revealing that they never had those tickets in the first place. Representatives from the company told complaining customers that they could not provide their tickets due to listing or technical errors, or vague supplier issues. However, in reality, in all of these cases Ticket Galaxy never had the tickets the company had speculatively sold.
Many consumers who unknowingly purchased speculative tickets paid vastly inflated prices, while others did not receive the seats that were advertised. In some cases, consumers received no tickets at all.
Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants will pay $1.55 million and adopt reforms designed to protect ticket purchasers in the future. Specifically, these ticket resale companies will need to enhance their disclosures to consumers — clearly and conspicuously disclosing to consumers when they do not have possession of tickets and instead are offering to obtain them for consumers. The companies are also prohibited from misrepresenting the reason why purchased tickets were never actually available in the first place — because the ticket reseller never had them in their possession.