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EMAILED ON September 21, 2018 BY Wes Schlagenhauf

Ticketmaster responds after CBC report alleges the box office giant recruits scalpers

Yesterday, CBC News and the Toronto Star dropped a doozy of a report alleging that Ticketmaster recruits professional scalpers to grow its resale business by collecting fees off of the inflated resell tickets.

Finally, concert-going conspiracy theorists who have long suspected collusion between ticket-sales behemoths and price-gouging resellers can rest easy. Case closed, right?

Not so fast. Yesterday, the ticket sales giant responded to the investigation, calling the publication’s reports of collusion with scalpers “categorically untrue.”

So who’s telling the truth here?

The allegations:

In July, the news outlets sent a pair of reporters undercover as ticket scalpers to Ticket Summit 2018 — a ticketing and live entertainment convention at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

There, reporters alleged company representatives pitched them on Ticketmaster’s professional reseller program, which allows resellers to grab bundles of tickets from its site, only to flip them for exorbitantly higher prices (from which Ticketmaster takes a fee) on their exclusive resell platform, TradeDesk.

One representative reportedly said that Ticketmaster’s resale division turns a “blind eye” to scalpers who use bots and fake identities to suck up tickets into resell hell.

The defense:

Ticketmaster maintains that the representatives the undercover reporters talked to had gone rogue: “We do not condone the statements made by the employee as the conduct clearly violates our terms of service.” 

The company says it has also already begun an internal review into the matter to ensure its “policies are being upheld by all stakeholders.”

A few things could be happening here

  1. The employees were blowing smoke up the Toronto Star’s typewriters.
  2. The employees were telling the truth, but Ticketmaster didn’t know about it.
  3. The employees were telling the truth, and the bigwigs are in on the racket.

But anyway it shakes out, it’s going to be interesting.

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