The trouble with Ticketmaster

Seven On Your Side
March 27, 2009 9:48:09 PM PDT
If you have ever tried to buy a ticket to a popular concert, you already know. Concerts sell out minutes after the tickets first go on sale. More and more consumers are yelling that it's become impossible to buy seats at face value. The alternative? Pay premium price from a broker or secondary seller. But we found out there's a high tech explanation behind the ticket shortage. "These are all my Taylor Swift posters." Davina Aziz describes herself as Taylor Swift's biggest fan. She has her pictures, her clothes, has even learned her songs.

So when Davina heard Taylor Swift would be playing at Madison Square Garden, she was online at exactly 10am when the tickets went on sale. But, "We couldn't get them," told the teenage fan to 7 On Your Side's Tappy Phillips.

By 10:03am Davina says the tickets were sold out.

This isn't new. 7 on your side first brought you the fan frustration after Bruce Springsteen concert tickets first went on sale.

"We are in possession of 6 tickets to the tune of $1500," said frustrated Springsteen fan, Chris Auriemma.

Chris says couldn't get Springsteen seats at face value on Ticketmaster and wound up paying top dollar to their broker site called TicketsNow.

As a result of thousands of fans complained. And the New Jersey Attorney General stopped Ticketmaster from sending buyers to their ticket broker website.

"No one has a chance." That's the dismal diagnosis from computer expert from PC Magazine's Lance Ulanoff.

Lance says the individual is no match for brokers with sophisticated computer software programs that beat the system. "This is the ticket brokers who have the technology to go in the moment tickets go on sale, get ahead of everyone else and buy up huge groups of tickets."

And they have programs that can read the security device called the Captcha faster than a human. Bruce Springsteen spoke out against this practice, but almost no other artist has.

"Because this company is still making money and the artists are making money, in the end and no one seemed to be interested in fixing this except the consumer who are getting more and more angry," says Lance.

Ticketmaster acknowledges this is a huge problem and says they're constantly working on solutions to stop brokers from hogging all the tickets. They say they're experimenting with paperless tickets. It's a new idea where they say you'll need the credit card first used to buy the tickets to get into the concert. But the Ticketmaster rep admitted the company actually profits from the $4 billion dollar a year ticket broker business since they operate their own broker site. ---

To report complaints about Ticketmaster, visit ----

Story by: Tappy Phillips

Produced by: Steve Livingstone

STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Tappy Phillips