GOVERNMENT WATCHDOG Competition Bureau Canada has fined StubHub Canada and its San Francisco-based parent company StubHub Inc and combined C$1.3 million (US$983,000) for misleading ticket prices.
The regulator found that StubHub “advertised tickets at unattainable prices on its websites, mobile apps and in promo emails to Canadians”.
The breach of consumer laws were due, it says, to StubHub’s practice of “drip pricing”, where its mandatory fees are added later, a practice that has come under Bureau scrutiny in the past.
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 said that providing these optional
filters and disclosing fees later in the process did not prevent the initial prices from being misleading.
It also 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 programme and implement new procedures to comply with the law and prevent advertising issues in the future.
The fine comes on the heels of Viagogo announcing it has completed its $4.05 billion acquisition of eBay, although the UK’s Competition and Marketing Authority has called a halt to the two companies integrating while it investigates the impact of the takeover (see news page 8).