StubHub to pay $1.3 million penalty for advertising unattainable prices for event tickets

News release

Bureau continues to push for transparency in online pricing

February 13, 2020 – GATINEAU, QC – Competition Bureau

StubHub Canada Ltd. and StubHub Inc. will pay a $1.3 million penalty as part of an agreement with the Competition Bureau to correct what the Bureau concluded are misleading pricing claims in the online sale of tickets to entertainment and sporting events.

A Bureau investigation determined that StubHub advertised tickets at unattainable prices on its websites, mobile apps and in promotional emails to Canadians. The Bureau found that consumers could not buy tickets at advertised prices because StubHub charged consumers mandatory fees in addition to the prices advertised.

Unless consumers clicked or tapped to turn on optional filters to see prices inclusive of fees, those fees were only revealed at later stages of the purchasing process. The Bureau concluded that providing these optional filters and disclosing fees later in the process did not prevent the initial prices from being misleading. Moreover, the Bureau found that, in some cases, consumers who filtered results to see inclusive pricing were still asked to pay more than the prices shown as inclusive of fees.

As part of an agreement registered with the Competition Tribunal, StubHub will ensure that prices for tickets to events in Canada will now include all mandatory fees throughout the ticket purchasing process. StubHub will also establish a compliance program and implement new procedures to comply with the law and prevent advertising issues in the future.

The Bureau acknowledges StubHub’s voluntary cooperation in resolving this matter.

Quotes

“Prices advertised online for event tickets should reflect the true cost of buying those tickets. The Bureau is committed to challenging false or misleading pricing claims in the digital economy, and reminds all vendors to review their marketing practices.”

-Matthew Boswell
Commissioner of Competition

Quick facts

  • 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.

  • Since 2016, the Bureau’s successful actions to resolve concerns regarding the advertising of unattainable prices online have led to a total of $11.25 million in penalties paid to date by Ticketmaster and four major car rental companies: Avis/BudgetHertzEnterprise and Discount.

  • This investigation follows the Bureau’s July 2017 warning issued to the ticketing industry calling on all vendors to review their marketing practices and to display the true price of tickets upfront.

  • Today’s agreement has the force of a court order and will be binding for a period of 10 years.

  • We encourage all Canadians to report suspected deceptive pricing claims by using the Bureau’s online complaint form or by calling 1-800-348-5358.

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