September 20, 2017

Senators Hatch and Booker call on FTC to review deceptive white label sites

In July, we reported that Representatives Tom Marino (R-PA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate white label sites. There has now been a further call on the FTC to investigate these deceptive sites, this time by two prominent Senators.

Last week, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) wrote to the Chairman of the FTC, Maureen Ohlhausen, to convey their concerns over these deceptive practices in the online ticket resale industry.

In their letter to Chairman Ohlhausen, Senators Booker and Hatch expressed their concern that consumers were being deliberately duped into purchasing tickets from a resale website  when they thought that they were buying directly from the venue box office.

But, how does this work? Certain online ticket resale sites develop networks of affiliated websites, whose domain names look very similar to a venue’s website. Then, they purchase the top paid result on major search engines, such as Google and Bing. As stated in the letter, a search for “Madison Square Garden Tickets” yields white label site madisonsquaregarden.ticketoffices.com as the first paid result.

Another issue raised in their letter was the additional mark-up added to the cost of the ticket. The inventory on these private white label sites is normally the exact same inventory that you would find on the site’s affiliated online resale company. However, when purchasing from the white label site, consumers are charged more in fees on the same ticket that they could purchase directly from the resale company.

You can read Senators Booker and Hatch’s full letter here.

Learn more about what you need to know about white label ticket sites here