"It's not the end of the world" that fans of pop star Taylor Swift were not able to purchase tickets for her upcoming "The Eras" tour through Ticketmaster, but it and its parent company, Live Nation, should be held accountable for failing to fulfill its promises, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, one of the state officials investigating allegations of antitrust violations against the company, told Newsmax on Tuesday.
"We've gotten a number of complaints and people are pretty worked up about it," the Republican official told "National Report." "We're starting to look at basic stuff, about what representations were made by the company and where the company failed to follow through."
Skrmetti said the attorneys general looking at the situation are also trying to examine the market situation and determine what competition exists against Ticketmaster and how that has affected the number of services it is offering as well as the prices.
Ticketmaster has apologized to Swift fans after the unprecedented demands for tickets for her show dates crashed its site last week.
"Our understanding from a number of very animated complainants is there was an elaborate process to get a verified fan number that would give people not a guarantee but an opportunity to buy one of these early release preferred tickets," Skrmetti said. "A lot of people jump through hoops for hours to get this number, got in the queue, and the site melted down.
"There are people who talked about being kicked off people who had tickets in the cart that would disappear."
Such issues often happen with online purchases, Skrmetti said, but promises were made that the sales for the Swift tour would be "streamlined" and fan-oriented.
"What they had to know was going to be a very, very aggressive buying effort by fans and, you know, this is a repeat player," he said. "Ticketmaster's under a consent decree. There have been problems going back years. We've heard from fans of other bands and performers. The BTS fans are very worked up about Ticketmaster; Harry Styles fans; so it's an ongoing problem."
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has called for the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger to be broken up, saying it never should have been approved, and Skrmetti said he agrees, even if he thinks "it's a little scary when you agree with people you don't expect to agree with."
"It's got to be resolved," he said. "This is a problem that's been making people's lives difficult for a long time. And you know, maybe in the past there was more of a reflexive, 'whatever-businesses-do-is-OK' attitude from the Republican Party, but we recognize that consumers need to be treated fairly.
"Companies shouldn't be able to abuse their customers just because there's no competition in the market. I think it's a bipartisan concern."
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