Two New York-area lawmakers called Sunday for a federal investigation into Ticketmaster for sending fans who wanted Bruce Springsteen tickets to its own ticket reselling Web site where the tickets cost much more.
“It was a classic bait-and-switch,'' said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “We don't have the tickets at $75, but maybe this site has them at $200.''
Tickets for Springsteen's upcoming tour went on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, and many fans who went online to buy tickets were immediately directed to Ticketmaster's reselling site, TicketsNow.
Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., said TicketsNow was selling the tickets at several times their face value. He questioned how TicketsNow acquired the tickets as soon as they went on sale.
“People simply want to be told the truth and not be scammed,'' Pascrell said.
After Springsteen himself complained about the TicketsNow markup, Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. CEO Irving Azoff apologized and said the company would no longer direct fans to the subsidiary.
But Schumer and Pascrell, speaking in front of Madison Square Garden, said the apology left questions unanswered, and they said the Federal Trade Commission should investigate the matter.
“We need to take a look at this system to make sure that it doesn't happen again,'' Schumer said.
A spokesman for Ticketmaster did not return a phone call Sunday seeking comment.
Schumer and Pascrell also said they were concerned about reports of a planned merger between Ticketmaster and concert promoter Live
“If the two entities were to merge, the sale of tickets, control of concert venues, and the representation of artists in those venues would be controlled by one organization, a potential problem for ticket buyers who could see prices skyrocket,'' Schumer said.
He said the FTC and the U.S. Justice Department should investigate any possible merger between the two entertainment conglomerates.