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Tom Ottervanger on controversial ticket sales via Ticketmaster NL

Ticketmaster – the largest ticket sales company in the world – is under fire from both consumers and Dutch MPs. The reason is the sale of tickets for the Lowlands festival, where resale tickets are costing at least 100 euros more than the original ticket price of 300 euros. Political parties GroenLinks, SP, Partij voor de Dieren and competing ticket sales business Ticketswap are calling for an independent investigation.

Free market distortion

The Ticketmaster platform not only makes it possible for the reseller to earn extra money, but also Ticketmaster itself, because it charges twice the service fee for one ticket – at these prices, that amounts to more than 40 euros. This is a sensitive issue because both Ticketmaster and the organiser of Lowlands, Mojo, fall under the powerful US company Live Nation. This entertainment company is already under judicial investigation in the US for alleged distortion of the free market. 

Investigation by ACM

Tom Ottervanger, professor emeritus in European law in Leiden, does believe an investigation will be held, but at the same time he has some reservations. ‘Even if Ticketmaster were found to have a dominant position in the sense of competition law, it is rare for the high price of a product or service to qualify as “abuse”. That has only occasionally occurred when a price was found to be excessive in relation to the investment and cost of a product. That is something for the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) to investigate.’

Read the full article in Dutch regional newspaper Eindhovens Dagblad

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