"I don't think anyone had a shot at getting the tickets." Springsteen fan Diane La Rue is talking about her attempts to buy tickets to Bruce's area shows on Monday. The long-time fan of the boss signed on to the Ticketmaster website the moment the tickets went on sale 9 AM Monday morning - on 2 computers.
"Then I got a screen that said, 'we are down for routine maintenance,'" says Diane.
Minutes later, Diane was directed to a site called TicketsNow, a secondary ticket broker. There she was able to purchase the tickets. But, with the service charge and shipping, the total for four tickets was close to $900, nearly four times face value.
"If you want the seats, you have to pay, you're really being held hostage," says Diane.
Diane feels this way because TicketsNow, which is reselling the tickets at a nearly 300% mark-up, is owned by Ticketmaster.
"These people think we're fools. We're not fools. They're gonna be fools for trying this." Those are the words of New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell (D). He says he's fielded so many complaints, he wants to take legal against Ticketmaster. He has asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the New Jersey Attorney General to investigate.
And it's not just Springsteen fans who are upset. Last year we told you about a girl scout troop from Manahawkin, New Jersey that had the same problem getting Hannah Montana tickets.
"We went on at 10AM and they were gone by 10:01," said Girl Scout troop leader Joanne Smyth.
"I believe it's time we stand and say, 'We're not going to take this anymore, clean up your act,'" says Congressman Bill Pascrell.
Today, Springsteen tickets on TicketsNow are selling for as much as $1600.
This leaves fans like Diane thinking Ticketmaster is making a huge profit at the fans expense.
Late today New Jersey's Attorney General, Anne Milgram announced she's joining the investigation of Ticketmaster. Her office received more than 250 consumer complaints in the last two days alone. Ticketmaster reportedly acknowledges an initial computer glitch and says the number of fans affected is small. It says it will contact customers who had trouble with orders. Springsteen, on his website, condemned Ticketmaster for sending fans to a secondary site and called it a "conflict of interest".
ON THE NET:
To file a complaint: http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/press/brucetix.htm
Bruce Springsteen's official statement regarding Ticketmaster: http://www.brucespringsteen.net/news/index.html
Story by: Tappy Phillips
Produced by: Steve Livingstone