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October 28, 09

NEWS / Two Ticket Sellers Agree to Stop Speculative Ticket Sales to Settle Attorney Generals Lawsuits

NEWARK – Two New Jersey-based ticket brokers sued by the Office of the Attorney General in May after allegedly offering concert tickets for sale before the tickets were available to the general public have agreed to revise their business practices and to pay $5,000 each to settle the suits.

Almost Backstage Inc., of Vauxhall, N.J., which does business as abtickets.com and Ticket Town, Inc., of Fort Lee, which does business as northeasttickets.com, each agreed to not offer for sale, sell or advertise for purchase any concert ticket prior to the initial on-sale date. Each defendant also agreed to not offer tickets prior to obtaining ownership, custody and control of the tickets or obtaining a contractual right to the tickets.

“We want to end the fraud committed against the public through the offering of phantom tickets,” Attorney General Anne Milgram said. “Our message to the ticket resale industry is very clear – it is fraud to sell something that you don’t have and may never have, while giving the public the impression that these tickets are yours to sell.”

Both defendants did not admit to any violations in reaching settlements with the Office of the Attorney General and its Division of Consumer Affairs. Each company will pay $5,000 to the state, in addition to complying with the state’s Consumer Fraud Act.

As alleged in the Attorney General’s Complaints, Almost Backstage and Ticket Town advertised and sold purported tickets to Bruce Springsteen’s September and October concerts at Giants Stadium before any tickets were available to the public. Many of the advertised tickets were identified by specific section and row number at prices far in excess of face value, varying between $317 and $575.

“We continue our efforts to produce a level-playing field for consumers who expect, and are entitled to, an equal opportunity to purchase tickets when seats initially go on sale,” said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director. “We will take legal action against those ticket sellers who don’t voluntarily stop their deceptions and false promises.”

Three additional lawsuits filed in May against other ticket sellers remain active. The lawsuits were filed against Select-A-Ticket, Inc., of Riverdale, N.J.; Orbitz Worldwide, Inc., which does business as cheaptickets.com, of Chicago; and TicketNetwork, Inc. in Connecticut. Orbitz and TicketNetwork are believed to be partners in a joint venture to advertise and resell tickets to events in New Jersey.

Assistant Attorney General James J. Savage and Deputy Attorney General David M. Puteska represented the state in these settlements. The Complaints were filed in State Superior Court in Essex County.

These lawsuits are part of the Attorney General’s continuing initiative in policing consumer fraud in the concert ticket industry. The Office of the Attorney General and the Division of Consumer Affairs in February reached an agreement with Ticketmaster regarding tickets being offered for sale on the company’s TicketsNow resale site following an investigation into the availability of tickets to Springsteen concerts held in May at the Izod Center in East Rutherford. The company agreed to change its business practices under terms of the settlement, agreeing not to allow ticket resales on its TicketsNow site before tickets go on sale on its Ticketmaster site.




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