A proposed class action alleges Vivid Seats “lures” consumers into buying tickets for sporting events, concerts and live shows by advertising “artificially low” prices while hiding the amount of fees it charges on each sale.
The 22-page case out of California characterizes Vivid’s alleged model of low advertised prices and high hidden fees as a “bait-and-switch pricing scheme.” The suit says that it’s only at checkout that Vivid discloses, for the first time, the total amount of service and delivery fees on each ticket purchase, after a consumer has already selected seats at a lower advertised price and made a decision to buy.
Moreover, rather than itemize the fees at checkout on its mobile app, Vivid includes these details in a “hidden,” separate link, the suit says. The lawsuit summarizes that the allegedly hidden Vivid Seats ticket fees serve to “draw in” reasonable consumers, who eventually proceed to checkout without realizing they’ve been hit with additional costs. From the complaint:
“Because Vivid intentionally hides additional fees in a separate link that is not automatically presented to customers as part of the transaction, reasonable consumers are drawn in by deceptively low ticket prices advertised in an initial search, and then proceed through check out without ever becoming aware of the amount of the so-called ‘service’ and ‘electronic transfer’ or ‘mobile delivery’ or ‘Flash Seats’ fees that have automatically been included in the total price.”
The lawsuit says that even if a consumer goes through the additional effort of identifying and clicking on the pricing details link, the person, who’s become “invested in the decision to buy,” often chooses to pay the inflated price anyway.
According to the complaint, Vivid Seats has “raked in millions of dollars” at the expense of consumers attracted to artificially low ticket prices. As the suit tells it, consumers have purchased tickets they would not have otherwise bought, and paid fees they would not have otherwise paid, had they not been “drawn in by Vivid’s deceptively low ticket prices.”
Further, the case relays that the additional fees apparently charged by Vivid are not a set amount, or even a set percentage of each purchase, and can range from roughly 30 to 60 percent of the ticket cost. Per the lawsuit, the variance in the amounts of fees charged by Vivid suggests that the added costs are “not tethered to any actual service or expense,” and exist as “pure profit-generators.”
The lawsuit looks to cover all consumers in California who bought tickets from Vivid Seats within the last four years.
The case was initially filed in Orange County Superior Court on April 25, 2022 before being removed to California’s Central District Court on May 27.
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