Dispute revolved around ticketing service fees

Ticketmaster and its parent Live Nation Entertainment have agreed to settle a class action lawsuit over ticketing service fees, according to an SEC filing by the company.

The suit was filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles in October 2003 by consumers Curt Schlesinger and Peter Lo Re, and was broadened to a class action by the court late last year, giving plaintiff status to anyone who purchased ducats through Ticketmaster from October 1999-May 2010.

The action alleged that Ticketmaster’s order processing fee was a “profit component” unrelated to the firm’s actual business costs, and that its UPS delivery option represented an artificial mark-up of pass-along costs. The case was set for a bench trial slated to begin Jan. 26.

In Live Nation’s 8-K form, filed Dec. 20 and posted Jan. 26, the firm said it agreed to “pay the fees of the claims administrator as well as the plaintiffs’ attorneys fees and certain costs that are approved by the Court and subject to a set maximum, and class members who meet certain conditions will be entitled to receive from Ticketmaster a cash payment and/or discounts off one or more future ticket purchases.”

The company said it had “not acknowledged any violations of law or liability in connection with the matter, but have agreed to the settlement in order to eliminate the uncertainties and expense of further protracted litigation.”

Ticketmaster’s high service fees, tacked onto the base price of a ticket, have long been a source of complaint among consumers, and were scrutinized in congressional hearings leading up to finalization of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger in January 2010.

An LNE spokesman said the company had no comment.

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