US lawmakers continue to slam Ticketmaster; Taylor Swift ticket presale issues persist

Some have noted consumer protection laws might have been violated.
Ticketmaster claims its refund policy has been 'consistent' despite change in wording on website
Posted at 3:53 PM, Nov 17, 2022

A list of lawmakers came out to issue renewed criticism over widely-held disapproval of the grip that events giant Ticketmaster has over the industry and its record of poor customer service.

The reinvigorated critiques over the ticketing giant came after multiple days of issues with ticket presale windows for Taylor Swift fans waiting in line to purchase high-priced concert tickets.

Thursday, Ticketmaster tweeted, "Due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, tomorrow's public on-sale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been cancelled."

The frustrating news for fans came after multiple site crashes with Ticketmaster's purchasing platform.

Accusations that Ticketmaster has become a monopoly, or a near-monopoly, have been hurled at the company on social media, after many believe it has become too large and powerful to deal with a plethora of issues that its customers have been having over the years since its merger with Live Nation.

This month, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her criticism of the company writing, "Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in."

"Break them up," she said.

On the state level, Tennessee's Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said Tuesday, "We have received complaints, we are concerned about this very dominant market player, and we want to make sure that they're treating consumers right and people are receiving fair opportunity to purchase the tickets that clearly matter a great deal to them."

As the Tennessean reported, the attorney general is concerned that there could be consumer protection laws being violated.

With little to no other competitor companies for fans and artist to turn to in order to buy and sell tickets to shows, Taylor Swift fans found themselves, this time, stuck in long online queues amid the multiple site crashes, to purchase tickets that many see as exorbitant in price, with a list of fees.

The issue has been ongoing for lawmakers who have watched the company continue to provide customer service and benefits that aren't always in the best interest of the customer.

In 2020, Rep. Katie Porter from California, the Deputy Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, wrote on Twitter saying Ticketmaster appeared to be trying to "provide the worst customer service in any industry" after it announced in April of that year that the company would not be providing refunds for tickets to postponed shows.

This can be a major financial blow for fans who have to travel from other cities to see concerts and attend other types of events, to then find out there has been a postponement to another date because of unforeseen circumstances.

Lawmaker criticism for Ticketmaster has been ongoing, but this recent resurgence of red hot disapproval came after Taylor Swift announced her Eras Tour, a massive 52-show concert series set to begin in March. For fans, it's incredibly exciting as it's her first since 2018, and her largest, as the New York Times reported.

Tickets went on presale Tuesday via Ticketmaster's Verified Fan program that tries to keep tickets out of the hands of resellers, and first in the hands of fans.

Ticketmaster said in a statement on Tuesday that the company was “aware fans may be experiencing intermittent issues with the site and are urgently working to resolve" the issue, the company said in atweet.

Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey wrote in a tweet that same day, "You'd think all these service and convenience fees could go to a working website Ticketmaster."

In 2009, Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged two years after an announcement that the live-events company planned to create its own ticketing service. Before the deal Live Nation was Ticketmaster's biggest customer, accordingto the Hollywood Reporter.

Since then the merger has been criticized by artists, fans and lawmakers. In 2009 Bruce Springsteen tried to get fans to purchase tickets from his own ticketing platform.

While Springsteen lists tour dates with Ticketmaster, he said in a statement to fans, “the one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system, thereby returning us to a near monopoly situation in music ticketing.”

An activist group has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to unwind the Live Nation and Ticketmaster merger, joining lawmakers, fans and artists in their continued pursuit to allow for more competition in the space.