(ABC4) — Taylor Swift fans waged ‘The Great War‘ with Ticketmaster on Tuesday, Nov. 15, when the presale of The Eras Tour tickets went live at 10 a.m. local venue time. The ticket site crashed multiple times due to “historically unprecedented demand,” leading fans to be stuck in the virtual queues for hours and the presale for west coast shows to be pushed back.
What should have been an effortless process turned out to be a frustrating experience for many. Some fans said they had their presale codes rejected while others were met with a “503 Service Unavailable” error due to the server being overwhelmed. The only thing that was certain about this ticketing mess was that many Swifties did not manage to purchase the tickets they wanted.
As the situation spun out of control, lawmakers and leaders across the nation took this opportunity to speak up against the ticket industry giant Ticketmaster.
A few hours after the presale started, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reminded everyone on Twitter that “Ticketmaster is a monopoly.” She added that the merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation should never have been approved.
“Break them up,” she wrote.
Ticketmaster’s excessive wait times and fees were unacceptable to Congressman David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) as well. The lawmaker echoed Ocasio-Cortez in calling Ticketmaster a monopoly, and the presale debacle yesterday was only “a symptom of a larger problem.”
Cicilline and three other congressmen have called on the Department of Justice to investigate Ticketmaster/Live Nation’s tendency to hike up ticket prices.
Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti expressed his concerns Wednesday on the consumer complaints he had received related to the presale. He said his consumer team will “use every available tool” to make sure no consumer protection laws were violated.
“We received a number of complaints, and there’s been significant press coverage that the ticket sale process did not go smoothly,” Skrmetti said. “There are no allegations, at this time, about any misconduct. But as the attorney general, it’s my job to ensure that the consumer protection laws and antitrust laws in Tennessee are being honored.”
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) took to Twitter Tuesday night to voice his disapproval of the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger, which he said is harming consumers by “creating a near-monopoly.”
“I’ve long urged [Department of Justice] to investigate the state of competition in the ticketing industry,” he wrote. “Consumers deserve better than this anti-hero behavior.”
With the dynamic pricing strategy, ticket prices on Ticketmaster can surge to insane heights depending on availability and time. These elevated prices do not comprise the extra fees that will show up in the final charge, leading fans to almost always spend more than they projected.
President Joe Biden called on his administration to crack down on these charges last month, saying that these “hidden junk fees” are a pain.
“They’re unfair, deceptive, and add up,” he wrote on Twitter.
For example, the service charge for a single ticket to The Eras Tour at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas costs $60.95. That does not include Nevada’s Live Entertainment Tax, facility charge and order processing fee.
It’s to no one’s surprise that Swifties are criticizing Ticketmaster for its poor management of the entire presale. They are saying that the ticket sales company should have anticipated the overwhelming number of ticket buyers when they sent out the presale codes.
With all the crashing and burning, some fans are calling on Ticketmaster to scrape their inflated service charges.
“Ticketmaster better waive all the fees because there’s no reason why we should pay for services that don’t work,” one user wrote on Twitter.
There were issues with The Eras Tour presale before it began. Taylor Nation, Swift’s official management team, sent out emails two weeks ago to diehard fans of hers telling them that their spot in the presale line will be “boosted.” However, it doesn’t seem like a “boost” will guarantee them a code as many of them didn’t even receive one to participate in the presale.
And many of those who received a code and “boost” claimed that they were still stuck in the virtual queue for a long time.
“I firmly believed they lied to us about the boosts,” another Twitter user wrote.
Neither Taylor Nation nor Swift herself has yet to comment on the presale.