On February 13, 2020, the Competition Bureau (Bureau) announced that StubHub Canada Ltd and StubHub Inc (collectively, StubHub) will have to pay a penalty of $1.3 million, due to their use of misleading pricing practices in the sales of online tickets contrary to the Competition Act.
The Bureau found that StubHub advertised tickets at prices which were unavailable as final prices on its websites, mobile apps and in promotional emails to Canadians. When tickets were purchased on the StubHub website or mobile app, additional fees were revealed and added to the initial price presented to customers during the “check-out” process. These fees were often described as “service,” “order processing,” or “facility” fees and often increased ticket prices by 10% up to 57%. StubHub claimed that its pricing practices were transparent, noting that it provided optional filters which displayed ticket prices inclusive of all fees. However, the Bureau concluded that these optional filters did not prevent the initial prices from being misleading. Moreover, the Bureau found that, in some cases, consumers who filtered results to see inclusive pricing were still asked to pay more than the prices shown as inclusive of fees.
StubHub and the Bureau have since entered into a 10 year agreement requiring that, for tickets to events in Canada, StubHub must include all mandatory fees throughout the ticket purchasing process. The agreement follows a July 2017 warning issued by the Bureau to the ticketing industry calling on all vendors to review their marketing practices and to display the true price of tickets upfront. Ticketmaster and four major car rental companies have also been sanctioned for their misleading pricing practices and have been subject to similar penalties.
Summary By: Juliette Sakran
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