Calling all ticket vendors: Be upfront about the true cost of tickets
July 4, 2017 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau
The Competition Bureau calls on sporting and entertainment ticket vendors to review their marketing practices and display the real price of tickets upfront.
To attract consumers, some companies in the ticketing industry offer low prices online or on mobile apps. However, additional mandatory fees, taxes or charges are added later in the purchasing process and the real price of the tickets ends up being much higher.
This practice is known as “drip-pricing” and it can be misleading to consumers because the advertised price is not attainable. The Bureau urges both primary and resale ticket vendors to avoid drip-pricing and display the real price of tickets upfront whenever the additional fees are mandatory for consumers.
Ensuring truth in advertising in Canada’s digital economy is a priority for the Bureau and targeting hidden fees is a key part of its efforts. Whenever possible, the Bureau tries to settle matters without resorting to lengthy and costly court proceedings. For example, the Bureau may contact companies directly to encourage voluntary compliance. However, if an out-of-court resolution is not reached, the Bureau will not hesitate to take the necessary action to ensure compliance with the law.
The Bureau also encourages consumers who believe they were misled to submit a complaint.
“Canadians spend billions of dollars online each year buying tickets to their favourite sporting and entertainment events. To promote continued innovation and growth in the digital economy, it’s critical that consumers have confidence that the prices they see online are the ones they will pay.”
Commissioner of Competition
In previous drip-pricing cases, the Bureau found that additional mandatory fees could increase a consumers’ final price from 10% up to 57%.
The unexpected fees are often added in the last steps of the purchase transaction, when buyers have their seats already picked out and are ready to pay. Sometimes the fees are buried in the fine print. They are often described as “service,” “order processing” or “facility” fees and can increase ticket prices significantly.
The Bureau has recently taken action in the area of drip-pricing in the car rental industry, reaching two agreements with car rental companies to address the advertisement of unattainable prices.
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The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
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