Feb 9, 2024 2 min read

SeatGeek sued in multi-million class action over ticket price listings in New York

Following proposals for a US-wide law forcing ticketing platforms to show the full price of every ticket upfront, including booking fees, SeatGeek has been sued in New York for allegedly failing to follow existing laws in that state regarding how ticket prices are displayed

SeatGeek sued in multi-million class action over ticket price listings in New York

US ticketing company SeatGeek has been sued over allegations it is in breach of New York laws regarding the listing of ticket prices. A new class action lawsuit filed against the company says it has been “improperly charging consumers on their website in violation of the New York Arts And Cultural Affairs Law". 

The dispute brings the spotlight back onto the practice employed by some ticketing sites of obscuring the true cost of tickets by adding fees at the final stage of each transaction, rather than declaring the full cost upfront. 

There has been a lot of discussion over the last year about introducing a new US-wide law that would force ticketing platforms to be fully transparent upfront about the full costs of any ticket being sold. A number of ticketing companies have actually backed such a law, though formal proposals are still working their way through US Congress. However, some US states have their own ticketing regulations. 

And the new lawsuit explains that, in New York, a law came into effect in 2022 that says "any platform that facilitates the sale or resale of tickets” must “disclose the total cost of the ticket, inclusive of all ancillary fees that must be paid in order to purchase the ticket, and disclose in a clear and conspicuous manner the portion of the ticket price stated in dollars that represents a service charge, or any other fee or surcharge to the purchaser".

"Such disclosure of the total cost and fees", it goes on, "shall be displayed in the ticket listing prior to the ticket being selected for purchase" and "the price of the ticket shall not increase during the purchase process". 

SeatGeek is not doing this, the lawsuit claims, adding that ticket buyers using SeatGeek are "initially quoted one price, only to later be shown the true total ticket, which includes an additional 'fees'. These added fees are only presented after consumers select their ticket option and pass through multiple screens in the purchase process". 

Three New York-based ticket buyers are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, though it seeks class action status, so that a judgement against SeatGeek would benefit other affected ticket-buyers too. 

The lawsuit states that "defendant sold at least 100,000 tickets through its website during the applicable class period and is liable for a minimum of $5 in statutory damages for each ticket sold". As a result "the aggregate amount in controversy exceeds $5 million, exclusive of interest, fees, and costs". 

Rules about how ticket prices are listed on ticketing platforms differ around the world. In the UK the Advertising Standards Authority's rules state that "if a booking fee is not optional, ticket prices must be stated inclusive of any booking fee”.

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