Celebrity Birthdays - Dec. 11-17

Taylor Swift poses in the press room at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards in 2021. Jordan Strauss/Invision via Associated Press

Ticketmaster is far from out of the woods, some Taylor Swift fans say.

More than two dozen fans are suing the company, alleging fraud, misrepresentation and multiple antitrust violations after last month’s ticket sales debacle for Swift’s “Eras” tour. The 33-page complaint on behalf of 26 plaintiffs across the United States details several aspects of the sale that Ticketmaster allegedly botched – from the “Verified Fan” presale codes to the wait times on its website.

Since the lawsuit was filed Friday, about 150 more fans have expressed interest in signing on to it, said Jennifer Kinder, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

“They messed with the wrong fan base,” she told The Washington Post.

The lawsuit alleges that during the “Eras” tour ticket sales process, Ticketmaster violated California’s antitrust and unfair competition laws. It says Ticketmaster’s “anticompetitive behavior has substantially harmed and will continue to substantially harm Taylor Swift fans,” according to the complaint, which was filed Friday in Los Angeles County, where Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, is headquartered.

The complaint is seeking $2,500 for every violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law, referring to “any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising.”


Ticketmaster and Live Nation did not respond to The Washington Post’s requests for comment Sunday evening. In a statement following ticket sales, Ticketmaster apologized to Swift and her fans, “especially those who had a terrible experience.” The company also released an explainer on the “Eras” tour sales.

The lawsuit is personal for Kinder, who said she has been a “Swiftie” for around 10 years and tried to get “Eras” tickets for herself and her 11-year-old daughter. The pair had tickets for “Lover Fest,” a tour Swift planned for 2020 before it was canceled because of the pandemic.

Kinder registered for “Verified Fan” status, a process Ticketmaster used to send presale codes to fans in an attempt to deter purchases by bots. But when the codes were sent out, Kinder was waitlisted, meaning she could not buy tickets on the first day of sales.

The next day, Nov. 16, she tried to get tickets through a second presale opportunity, also through Ticketmaster, that was available to those with Capital One cards. She waited four hours, but the sale ended before she could purchase tickets.

And on the third day, Ticketmaster canceled the general sale – what many fans held as their final hope for seeing Swift on tour – citing “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.”

Kinder’s experience led her to social media, where thousands of fans were posting about similar frustrations and challenges that haunted them, with many wishing the process could begin again. She put out a Google form on social media for people to submit information about their ticket-buying experience, ultimately leading her to find plaintiffs for the California case.


The complaint is the latest legal action targeting Ticketmaster in the aftermath of the chaotic rollout. Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, R, has said he would look into whether Ticketmaster violated consumers’ rights and antitrust regulations after his office received complaints, adding in a news conference that he was “concerned about this very dominant market player.”

Many fans – alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., – blamed Ticketmaster’s “monopoly” on live event tickets for the hours-long, glitch-filled experience. Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged in 2010 ​​after agreeing to certain conditions intended to address antitrust concerns, but the New York Times reported last month that the Justice Department’s antitrust division has been conducting an investigation into Live Nation.

Swift herself said it was “excruciating” to “watch mistakes happen” and see that fans felt they had “been through several bear attacks” trying to get tickets.

Danielle Lips, a plaintiff in the complaint, said the bad blood between Ticketmaster and Swifties after the ticket fiasco does not come as a surprise.

“I just don’t think that there’s any fan base quite as rabid as us,” she said. “We will do just about anything, and if you cross us the wrong way, that’s not going to end well.”

Julie Barfuss, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, said in an interview with The Post that she tried to purchase tickets for Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour so many times, the webpage thought she was a bot. The 52-year-old took off work on Nov. 15 as she waited in the virtual queue to secure seats for the March 18 show in Glendale, Ariz.


For some dates, like those in Glendale, tickets were sold on SeatGeek. The lawsuit alleges that Ticketmaster “carved out small territories” for competitors such as SeatGeek to “hide the level of monopolistic power and control” the company has.

After trying to check out dozens of times unsuccessfully, Barfuss started a chat with a customer service worker who told her she’d tried to purchase tickets 41 times, causing the system to think she was a bot.

Next, Barfuss tried the Capital One presale. She again had tickets in her cart, but when she went to pay for them, her card was declined – because, she told The Post, it had been charged for each of the 41 purchase attempts, racking up a total of $14,286.70.

Though the charges were scrubbed a week later, Barfuss never did get tickets. She said she hopes the lawsuit makes Ticketmaster realize how the process affected true fans whose wildest dreams were to see Swift perform live.

“It just seems so not right,” Barfuss said. “To me, it just seems like an egregious way to do business.”

Long story short, the plaintiffs are waiting to be given a hearing date, which Kinder said is expected in a couple of weeks.

The Washington Post’s Julian Mark, Annabelle Timsit, Sonia Rao and Perry Stein contributed to this report.

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