Ticket agency Ticketmaster apologised to rocker Bruce Springsteen today for redirecting his fans to a website charging hugely inflated prices.
When tickets for Springsteen’s show at New Jersey’s Meadowlands went on sale on Monday, some fans who logged on to the Ticketmaster site got an error message on their computers that shut them out.
The potential ticket-buyers then saw an ad for Ticketmaster’s subsidiary, TicketsNow, offering tickets for hundreds of dollars more than face value.
Springsteen said on his website last night that he and the E Street Band were “furious”.
“We perceive this as a pure conflict of interest,” the band said. “Ticketmaster is there to ensure that we have a good, fair sale of our tickets at their face value plus normal ticketing charges.”
TicketsNow allows people who have tickets to exchange, trade or sell them at marked-up prices. The band said it had received assurances from Ticketmaster that it would stop redirecting Springsteen fans to TicketsNow.
The incident led US Rep Bill Pascrell to call on the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department to investigate possible conflicts of interest involving Ticketmaster and TicketsNow.
The New Jersey attorney general’s office is also investigating whether Ticketmaster broke any consumer fraud or ticket resale laws.
Ticketmaster Entertainment chief executive Irving Azoff issued a statement early today apologising to the band and its fans.
“While we were genuinely trying to do the right thing for fans in providing more choices when the tickets they requested from the primary on-sale were not available, we clearly missed the mark,” the statement said.
“Fans are confused and angry, which is the opposite of what we hoped to accomplish. We sincerely apologise to Bruce, his organisation and, above all, his fans.”
Mr Azoff said the company had taken down all links for Springsteen shows directing fans from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow.
On Tuesday, a company spokesman said only a few fans reported problems. But state attorney general’s spokesman David Wald said the office had received more than 250 complaints since Monday.
Heather Dunham, of Great Meadows, said she and about a dozen of her friends were among those who tried to buy tickets when they went on sale.
“The website just kept throwing us all off, telling you it was down for routine maintenance. That’s the same message we got routinely for the better part of an hour,” she said. “Then it started redirecting us to the premium ticket site,” where prices were double.
“It was outrageous. It’s corporate greed at its worst.”
Springsteen plays two dates at the RDS in July, with a third set to be added.