City politicians rush to save Ticketmaster's user fees
Musician Jackson Browne's managers were so excited when they heard Maryland's high court had struck down Ticketmaster's unpopular user fees in Baltimore that they promised free lifetime tickets to the city resident who had filed suit alleging he'd been ripped off by "exorbitant charges."
The Ravens, Orioles and Baltimore concert venues — along with city politicians — didn't share the singer's jubilation.
Concerned that Ticketmaster and other ticket vendors might refuse to handle events in Baltimore, the City Council is poised to carve out an exception to its long-standing anti-scalping law, which bars companies from charging fees in excess of 50 cents on top of a ticket's stated price. A council finance committee is scheduled to vote this week on a measure aimed at allowing Ticketmaster to continue to charge its fees.
"I don't understand why the city would want to change a good law that protects its citizens," said Andre Bourgeois, the 50-year-old Inner Harbor resident whose legal victory stunned area businesses last month. The anti-scalping law "just means that the face price of the ticket has to be what the ticket actually costs," he said.
At issue are service fees Ticketmaster charges on top of the stated price of a ticket. As any concert-goer or sports fan knows, these fees can sometimes spike the total cost of a ticket to more 120 percent of its stated price.