Burns: And to think, Smithers, you laughed when I bought Ticketmaster. [imitating Smithers] Nobody’s going to pay a hundred-percent “service charge.” Smithers: It’s a policy that ensures a healthy mix of the rich and the ignorant, sir.

Suit says Ticketmaster violated anti-scalping law
A $500 million class action lawsuit has been launched against Ticketmaster and its TicketsNow subsidiary, accusing the companies of conspiring to force customers to pay inflated prices for tickets.
“We’re hearing from people that … they can’t buy tickets for the face value, and if you want to go to see your favourite artist, you have to pay two or three times the face value,” said Jay Strosberg of Sutts, Strosberg LLP, which filed the suit today in conjunction with Vancouver law firm Branch MacMaster.
“It’s a matter of fairness,” Strosberg said. “It’s also causing a fair amount of frustration.”
Ticketmaster’s practices amount to a violation of Ontario’s Ticket Speculation Act, aimed at preventing ticket scalping, said Strosberg. The claims have not been proven in court.
“Our office has been flooded with calls,” he added. “We have a registration system online and people are registering at a speed which we’ve never seen.” The registration system is at
Albert Lopez, spokesperson for Ticketmaster, Ticketmaster Canada and TicketsNow, did not return calls for comment yesterday.
Last week, New Jersey residents were outraged after being unable to purchase tickets for an upcoming Bruce Springsteen concert there via Ticketmaster, sparking a demand by a U.S. congressman for a federal investigation into the company’s practices.
Such practices included directing potential buyers to the TicketsNow site, where tickets were priced well above the face value. New York Senator Charles Schumer has since added his voice to the call.
New Jersey’s attorney general pledged to launch a state probe into the matter.
Springsteen himself denounced Ticketmaster for having a conflict of interest and wrung a concession from officials that fans would no longer be directed to TicketsNow. CEO Irving Azoff of Ticketmaster, based in California, also issued a public apology.
On Friday, Springsteen fans hoping to see a show on May 7 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto called the Star to complain that tickets sold out within minutes of going on sale online, but that more than 800 higher-priced tickets were available shortly afterward on TicketsNow, at prices up to $1,338.
Strosberg said he and lawyer Luciana Brasil of Branch MacMaster have been looking at the issue for some time.
The class action suit ñ which could include anyone who has done business with Ticketmaster and TicketsNow since Feb. 9, 2007 ñ was sparked by a complaint from Henryk Krajewski of Toronto, who tried to buy two tickets last September for a Smashing Pumpkins concert at Massey Hall.
Krajewski was unable to purchase the tickets at a face value of $133 from Ticketmaster and was instead forced to pay $533.65 on the TicketsNow site.
“We are interested in hearing about everyone’s experience. People should be able to access entertainment for reasonable prices. That’s what this lawsuit is about,” Strosberg said.
“We’re both younger lawyers, and we know what it’s like to want to go see an event and to not be able to access tickets.”
Both firms, he noted, are also experienced in the area of class action lawsuits. Sutts, Strosberg has recovered more than $1 billion in damages on behalf of its clients, and Branch MacMaster has authored a textbook on class action suits in Canada and acted in more than 80 such cases in four provinces.