TRENTON, N.J. — Bruce Springsteen said Wednesday that he is angry with Ticketmaster and believes its selling practices constitute a conflict of interest. (He visits Houston for a Toyota Center show on April 8, and tickets go on sale Saturday.)
When tickets for Springsteen's show at New Jersey's Meadowlands went on sale Monday, some fans got an error message on their computer screen that shut them out. The potential ticket-buyers then saw an ad for Ticketmaster subsidiary TicketsNow offering tickets for hundreds of dollars more than face value.
Springsteen said on his Web site Wednesday that he and the E Street Band are "furious."
"We perceive this as a pure conflict of interest," the band said. "Ticketmaster is there to ensure that we have a good, fair sale of our tickets at their face value plus normal ticketing charges."
TicketsNow allows people who have tickets to exchange, trade or sell them at marked-up prices. The band said it has received assurances from Ticketmaster that it will stopped redirect Springsteen fans to TicketsNow.
The snub to Springsteen fans on Monday prompted U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell to call on the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department to investigate possible conflicts of interest involving Ticketmaster and TicketsNow. The New Jersey attorney general's office is also investigating whether Ticketmaster has violated any consumer fraud or ticket resale laws.
Several phone messages left Wednesday for Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. spokesman Albert Lopez were not returned. On Tuesday, a company spokesman said only a few fans reported problems.
But state attorney general's spokesman David Wald said the office has received more than 250 complaints since Monday.
Heather Dunham, of Great Meadows, said she and about a dozen of her friends were among those who tried to buy tickets when they went on sale Monday.
"The Web site just kept throwing us all off, telling you it was down for routine maintenance. That's the same message we got routinely for the better part of an hour," she said. "Then it started redirecting us to the premium ticket site," where prices were double.
"It was outrageous," said Dunham, who has previously purchased Springsteen tickets from Ticketmaster. "It's corporate greed at its worst."
At its worst? Naw, that would be more like starting a war on false pretenses and profiteering the hell out of it. Ticketmaster is more like typical corporate greed.