Biden Strikes Agreement With Ticket Agencies to Show Fees

Live Nation, Ticketmaster to display charges to consumers up front
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2023 5:25 PM CDT
Live Nation, Ticketmaster Agree to Stop Adding Surprise Fees
President Biden speaks in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington on Thursday about surprise fees. He's joined by, from left, Phil Hutcheon of DICE, Tobi Parks of xBk, and Lael Brainard, director of the National Economic Council.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Joined by executives of ticket agencies, President Biden announced Thursday that the companies have agreed to discontinue the practice of adding unexpected fees at the end of customers' online orders. Pressure for the change intensified last year when people shopping for Taylor Swift tickets on Ticketmaster faced skyrocketing prices, long waits, and system crashes. "Starting in September, Live Nation will automatically list all of the prices up front for all tickets to events at more than 200 venues of its own, benefiting more than 30 million customers," Biden said, per NPR. "It will give customers the option for an all-in price for all other tickets sold on its platform." Live Nation and Ticketmaster share ownership.

Greater pricing transparency can aid competition, Biden said, and reduce the amounts consumers pay. Although the service fees won't disappear, shoppers will be aware of them before putting tickets in their online cart. Live Nation, SeatGeek, and DICE attended the meeting, as did Airbnb. The deal imposes no limit on what the companies can charge or do anything to counter Live Nation's reported 70% of the ticketselling market, per the Verge. A group battling the ticket agencies lacked enthusiasm for the agreement in a statement Thursday. "Live Nation-Ticketmaster's announcement today is a half-hearted attempt to ward off a looming DOJ investigation into addressing the real issue—its monopoly power over live events," the Break Up Ticketmaster Coalition said.

Biden proposed the Junk Fee Protection Act in February to limit four types of charges, per CNN: online concert, sporting event and entertainment ticket fees, airline fees for families sitting together on flights; early termination fees for TV, phone, and internet services; and unexpected resort and destination fees. "I'm asking their competitors to follow suit and adopt an all-in upfront pricing as well," Biden said Thursday, adding, "This is a win for consumers, in my view, and proof that our crackdown on junk fees has real momentum." (More President Biden stories.)

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