Attorney General James Announces Settlement With Ticket Resale Companies For Selling Tickets They Never Owned
Attorney General James Announces Settlement with Ticket Resale Companies for Selling Tickets They Never Owned
TicketNetwork, Ticket Galaxy, and Owner Donald Vaccaro Tricked Consumers into Purchasing Non-Existent Tickets, Often at Dramatically Inflated Prices
TicketNetwork, Ticket Galaxy, and Vaccaro Will Pay $1.55 Million
and Adopt Reforms Designed to Protect Ticket Purchasers
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced a settlement resolving a lawsuit against TicketNetwork, Inc. (TicketNetwork), Ticket Galaxy (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 that the sellers did not actually own.
“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.”
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.
The settlement is subject to court approval.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Jordan Adler, Johanna Skrzypczyk, and Ezra Sternstein of the Bureau of Internet and Technology, with support from Special Litigation Counsel Andrew Amer of the Litigation Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau of Internet and Technology Chief Kim A. Berger and Deputy Bureau Chief Clark P. Russell. The Bureau of Internet and Technology is overseen by Chief Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Christopher D’Angelo.