Baltimore, we have a new hero: incensed at the $12 in “convenience” and other fees tacked on to a $52 ticket to see Jackson Browne, Inner Harbor resident Andre Bourgeois decided to take action. Citing a 1948 anti-scalping law that forbids anyone from charging more than 50 cents more than the face value of a ticket, Bourgeois filed suit against Ticketmaster, alleging “exorbitant charges.” And last month, Maryland’s highest court agreed with Bourgeois.
While ticket-purchasers everywhere rallied in support of Bourgeois, other people aren’t so happy about the ruling. The Baltimore City Council expressed concern that Ticketmaster might stop handling Baltimore events. That would mean that local venues would have to take on the task themselves — a potentially arduous task that the venues say they’re not able to handle. So the City Council is considering passing a measure that would allow Ticketmaster to keep charging ridiculous fees. (Arg.)
There’s some question as to whether the City Council might either do away with the 1948 law entirely (thus allowing Ticketmaster to continue to do whatever it wants, including tacking on fees that sometimes amount to 120 percent of a ticket’s price), or limit fees to a set percentage of the ticket price.
As the city works all that out, Bourgeois has at least a little while to savor his victory. And the managers for Jackson Browne, the artist Bourgeois originally wanted to see so much that he ponied up $12 in extra ticket fees, are so appreciative that they offered him free lifetime tickets — no sneaky extra fees included.
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