Attorney Jay Strosberg from Windsor, Ontario remembers them well. "I don't like the word scalper," he says referring to people who flip tickets at inflated prices, outside big concerts and sports events, but that's what most people called them then and still call them today. They're at almost every concert venue. By tradition, they're a rat bag of street level entrepreneurs who've bought a couple hundred dollars worth of seats to Celine Dionne or Coldplay and hope to double their investment by selling to latecomers.
Strosberg is Suing
Ticket scalping is illegal in Ontario, Canada and in many other places, but it was largely ignored because it was unorganized and it seemed to serve the purpose of some.
But then came the internet and a company called Ticketmaster and lawyer Jay Strosberg. "Well, we are at the beginning, we are commencing several actions across the country and are still in the process of consolidating the Ontario action and preparing our certification materials," says Strosberg. In other words, he's launching a class action against Ticketmaster for allegedly, as he sees it, selling tickets online at hyper-inflated prices.
Strosberg, from the firm Sutts, Strosberg (Windsor and Toronto) is proposing two class actions against Ticketmaster, TicketsNow and two other Ticketmaster companies on behalf of all persons who purchased tickets after February 9, 2007.
The Ticketmaster lawsuit contends the companies routinely contravene Ontario's anti-scalping legislation. "We allege that these companies are not in compliance with the legislation in Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario based on our information," Strosberg says from his Windsor office on the Canadian side of the Detroit River. "There are many US states that have laws against this as well."
The plaintiffs in the suit allege that Ticketmaster has and continues to deliberately limit the number of tickets that are sold in the primary market at face price and instead, diverts tickets to its secondary market TicketsNow website where they can be sold for amounts that exceed their face value.
"When we went public with our lawsuit, our office was overwhelmed with calls, and emails and registrations on our website. Sutts, Strosberg is one of the pioneering law firms in the area of class action and litigation in Ontario.
READ MORE ANTITRUST LEGAL NEWS
The suit will ask that people who bought tickets be compensated for the difference between what a regular ticket would cost and the price paid.
It could amount to an estimated $500 million.
By the way, Ticketmaster says it has done nothing wrong.
"Tickets, tickets anybody want tickets?"
Jay Strosberg is a graduate of the University of Windsor (LL.B.) and Huron University College (B.A.). He practices almost exclusively in the area of class action litigation. He was a member of the counsel team that settled the Atlas Cold Storage Income Trust class action for $40 million (Cdn) and was also a member of the counsel team that settled the Southwestern Resources Corp. securities class action for $15.5 million (Cdn).