N.J. Congressman Launches Bill To Put Breaks On Third-Party Ticket Buyers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An alleged online attack targeting Ticketmaster.com left Tri-State Area Bruce Springsteen fans frustrated Friday morning.

Earlier this week, Springsteen announced that the first leg of his U.S. tour would include two shows at Madison Square Garden and three shows in New Jersey.

Fans hoping to snag tickets to the Boss’s “Wrecking Ball” tour dates were hitting the refresh button over and over when they went on sale Friday morning. Fans said they got frozen screens and error messages, but not tickets when they went on the site.

“I gave up on trying to get tickets. I always go to the Craigslist or the eBay. You pay a little bit more, but you’re getting them,” Glen Rock, N.J.’s Sarim al-Rawi told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis on Friday night.

“I think the public should have access to the tickets before scalpers do,” added Lisette Ramos of Englewood, N.J.

Then there were the Facebook complaints.

“There has to be a better way for real fans to get tickets without paying scalper site prices,” one person wrote.

“Scalpers got all of the tickets! Tried to get them for my 9-year-old son – terrible — wish it wasn’t that way!” another wrote.

New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell told 1010 WINS that he is tired of seeing such incidents occur again and again. Late last year, Ticketmaster was forced to give customers a $1.50 credit per ticket order.

Those troubles began when some Springsteen fans accused the company of deception, charging more and profiting off hidden fees. Then came the class action suit filed by attorneys on behalf of tens of thousands of angry ticket buyers.

“We have this happen too many times — the consumer be damned. I mean, StubHub already had 2,000 tickets for the three  shows and that’s just once secondary marketplace. When we don’t have oversight over the primary and secondary site, we are going to have these things happen over and over and over again,” Pascrell said.

Pascrell is so fed up with the system he’s introducing a bill to ban third-party ticket buyers from getting tickets just released.

“What that does is take brokers out of the process, until after the first 24 hours,” Pascrell said.

Lance Patania is one of those third-party ticket buyers, running a business called Prominent Tickets that goes online for tickets the moment they go on sale. So what happened to all the Springsteen tickets?

“That’s a great question. We want to know that answer, too,” said Patania, who ended up with four. “I should have right to buy tickets as the guy next door.”

Pascrell said somewhere somebody’s got them.

“There’s too many shenanigans going on here. There’s no protection for the fans. They save up their hard-earned money and they can’t get there … we gotta do something about that,” Pascrell said.

Pascrell argued that the average fan was getting “shafted” and said he wanted to see the results of Ticketmaster’s investigation.

According to a statement from Ticketmaster, the company said that it “experienced roughly 2.5 times more traffic than anything we’ve seen over the past year.” The company said that indications suggest “much of this traffic came from highly suspicious sources, implying that scalpers were using sophisticated computer programs to assault our systems and secure tickets with the sole intention of selling them in the resale market.”

Ticketmaster said that it was not the “the only ticketing company that experienced an attack of this nature today,” adding that it hopes the incident draws greater attention to the need to “take strong measures against those who violate the law and exploit artists and fans. ”

There was no comment from Springsteen, who’s caught in the middle and wants as many fans at his concerts as he can get.

Springsteen will perform at the Izod Center on April 3 and 4 and the Prudential Center on May 2.  The Boss and the E Street Band will also perform at MSG on April 6 and 9.

Did you face troubles Friday morning trying to get tickets?  Share your experience in the comments section…

Comments (35)
  1. Lord Duncan says:

    Bruce blows. Amen.

  2. barb says:

    Was in Florida on vacation when the tickets went on sale. Used a land line, a cel phone and an Ipad to get tickets. I got through at 12:01 and read the message ‘your wait time is 15 minutes or less.” At 12:05, it read, ‘your wait time is 8 minutes.’ At 12:10, it said “your wait time is 15 minutes.’ At 12:16 it told me there were no tickets available. Couldn’t get through on either phone and I dialed the NY/NJ/PA ticketmaster lines. This is a joke. Ticketmaster should be eliminated. I’ve been going to see Bruce for over 25 years – and I remember cuttting school to go wait on line to buy tickets. It was a hassle even then.

  3. Steven says:

    What are the prices for these tickets? Why isn’t Bruce playing for free? Many can’t afford the ticket prices? This isn’t fair, the OWS should be outraged.

  4. jules says:

    People don’t realize that Ticketmaster DOES NOT own the tickets. TM is just the system that sells the tickets. The promoter and artist control what seats are made avaialble to the public, Ticketmaster does not.

  5. royallen says:

    It’s the old “we were cyber attacked defense” what a crock of poo,it’s just Ticketmaster GREED as usual

  6. Ticket Guy says:

    How about you guys step back and think about it for 1 second. There is probably around 5% to 10% of the TOTAL number of tickets available for the MSG shows posted on StubHub.

    So that tells you what? 1. Either lots of fans got them. 2. Ticketmaster/bruce held back a TON of tickets to inflate demand, get people angry at scalpers, sell tickets on their own secondary market sites?

    it’s funny to me how Ticketmaster almost instantly blamed scalpers and everyone went crazy without even thinking that the one behind most of this is probably Ticketmaster itself…just think about it for a little before going nuts and thinking that scalpers are the worst people on earth…

  7. L F says:

    I remember the good old days when we had to wait in line at a TM outlet to buy tickets. First come, first served. It was a huge pain in the butt when they came up with those number drawings to detemine the line order.

  8. L F says:

    I agree with k…this seems to happen now each time Bruce tickets go on sale – is it really a coincidence? Is Bruce really as angry as he says when it happens? Probably not. And he’ll keep doing business with TM as long as it pays his mortgage. And stupid lemmings will continue to come back, buy tickets, and complain about TM the whole time.

    My problem is I was trying to buy tickets for something else and couldn’t because I couldn’t get past the 2 hour long “your wait is 15 minutes or longer” B.S. So FU to Ticketmaster. There were onsales for a few big shows that day, not just Bruce, and TM took that opportunity to release the tickets to scalpers. Absolutely. Because if you really don’t want to see your system crash and burn, you pace the onsale dates. RIGHT?

  9. k says:

    this is all a scam

    Bruce will be back in the fall, he will thrive on all this publicity, and he will play show after show and hope all the idiot fans and the idiot scalpers buy up all the tickets

    and ticketmaster and Bruce will be laughing to the bank

    Bruce does this every time he tours

    Marketing genius if you ask me

  10. raV says:

    ticket master rip off

    Logged on exactly when they said tickets would go on sale. Usedt2 computers and on the phone (could not get through there either) waiting 45 minutes looking at spinning wheels saying 15 minuits or more and then an error page..Totally screwed. This is such an outrage. I cannpt believe this keeps going on and on!
    Maybe it is time the New Consumer Protection agency to take a look at the Bots
    and Ticketmaster rip off!!!!

  11. RAV says:

    ticket master rip off

    Logged on exactly when they said tickets would go on sale. Usedt2 computers and on the phone (couldnt get through there either) waiting 45 minutes looking at spinning wheels saying 15 mintues or more and then an error page..Totally screwed. This is such an outrage. I can npt believe this keeps going on and on!
    Maybe it is time the New COnsumer Protection agency takes a look at the Botts
    and Ticketmaster rip off!!!!

  12. AMM says:

    I was on Eyewitness news last night regarding the Ticketmaster ticket “scam”. This cannot continue to happen, as it is a form of scalping. Ticketmaster claims they were hacked by high tech computer hackers. However hundreds of tickets were available on Stub Hub at the same time as were being just made available to the public. Doesn’t Ticketmaster own Stub Hub? I am embarrassed to say I had to purchase my tickets from Stub Hub yesterday as double the face value for not very good seats. There are tickets available on Stub Hub, Craig’s List, Ebay, etc for thousands of dollars over face value. How is this allowed to happen?
    It’s very frustrating we are at the mercy of Ticketmaster every time we want to see our favorite artists’ performances. It’s not just for Springsteen concerts when he is performing in the state of New Jersey. It happened to my sister when trying for Justin Bieber tickets. She had to pay hundreds of dollars to have her daughters see him in concert. Ticketmaster needs to be held accountable once and for all.

    1. brandi says:

      ebay owns stub hub i think

  13. ChaosRN says:

    Tickets for fans ? with two phones and one computer from me, one phone and one computer for daughter, closest to tickets we got was on daughter’s computer a 20 min wait window, followed by 5 min wait, followed by no tickets available.
    this system is so corrupt…. like years ago when the third person in line AT the window, in person, was closed out …. but if you hit the internet… sites advertise tickets, $500, $600, $750, $1000 “choice seating!” how is that ? i don’t blame Mr. Springsteen,
    i recall the lottery system where you mailed in for a max of 4 tickets, (dating my self i know) but at least there was the appearance of fairness…..

  14. Dragon says:

    I have purchased tickets for many concerts at various venues in the tri-state area many of which end up selling out and NEVER have I had such an issue as I do with Springsteen tickets. There was the issue in 2009 and then this time when it seemed as if Ticketmaster nearly shut down. It seems as if the only option left is to go to the venue on the day the tickets go on sale and purchase them right from the venue, that way the scalpers would have to wait in line like everyone else. I can’t think of any other way to solve this problem.

  15. IwillNeverGetToSeeBruce says:

    Here’s something to look at. If the DC Verizon Center is really sold out, then why is it that only certain sections have tickets available for sale on StubHub? You would think that the tickets for sale on StubHub would be pretty evenly dispersed throughout the arena by now. It’s pretty obvious that Ticketmaster is holding on to most seats and not releasing them for sale until they want to. I guarantee they will increase prices as well. Did anyone find it interesting that seats were only as high as $114 today. That’s because the lower level seats were not released. Yet. I called Ticketmaster and the recording said “we are sorry, there are no more tickets available for this event at this time.” KEY WORDS: AT THIS TIME..

  16. Butch Gregoria says:

    4 ticket maximum, imprint purchasers name on ticket, show ID at venue to prove you or your group. Hell, they check you anyhow why not show ID. Anything would be a hassle but just a thought.

  17. gina b says:

    same story here- 2 computers and on the phone (couldnt get through there either) waiting 45 minutes looking at spinning wheels saying 15 mintues or more and then an error page..it’s the real fans that get screwed.. i think the scalpers realize the loyal fa nbase for Bruce which is why this always happens with his shows. They know we want to go come hell or high water to as many shows as we can..Not that it is ever right, But in an economy like this its just wrong to screw your brother out of 3 hours of happiness…….

  18. Paul says:

    Imagine if the sales had to be tied to an email address. Only 4 tickets per address with a confirmation number. Then you go back on line and actually pay using the number. That would slow the scalpers for a while

  19. Karen says:

    what was the excuse this afternoon at 12:01 getting “no tickets available” any # of seat at any price when tickets went on sale at 12:00 for Albany. I had 3 computers going. Tickets were available on scalper sites before they even went on sale.

    1. The Realist says:

      That’s because Ticketmaster probably OWNS all of the scalper sites.

    2. JukeJointJimmee says:

      Same exact thing happened to me for D.C. tickets. What a scam.

  20. The Realist says:

    It’s obvious that Ticketmaster reserves most tickets for the resell companies, which are most likely owned by… Ticketmaster!

    Ticketmaster should just acknowledge this and charge the higher prices up front, without resorting to reselling through its FAKE subsidiaries.

    1. A Ticket Person says:

      Actually Ticketmaster does not hold anything. Ticketmaster does NOT control inventory of what tickets are accessible. All Ticketmaster does is provide the platform to sell tickets… a software company. The venues/promoters control what is sold where.

  21. Patricia Valese says:

    TICKETMASTER is so obviously the ‘master’ of this scam. They’re the ones with the tickets! So the real fans get screwed again, and Ticketmaster makes millions – probably more than Bruce, and when someone slaps their grubby hands and sues- they pay back $1.50 a ticket – sounds like justice to you? Nothing went wrong with the website – we were able to get in, get to the page. type the encryption – and then boom – swirling “time” mode that never moved – had two computers working the site – tried for Izod, Pru., and MSG….Bruce get yourself outta Ticketmaster, prosecute them, unless singing to the 1% turns you on.

    1. Berenice says:

      AGREE – Bruce you are playing for the 1% if this continues

  22. teketoria says:

    If they can afford that much for a ticket, why not?
    They was ” Born in the USA” like the guy himself.

  23. dollars and SENSE says:

    Idiots paying hundreds, even thousands of dollars to see some multi-millionaire old guy sing. No wonder the economy is in a tailspin. Before replying negatively, please take a moment to think about it.

  24. linda small says:

    ticketmaster has scammed again..was on site at exactly 10:00 got through on first try..i was told I would be helped in 9 minutes..3 hours later I gave up..Our family have been loyal fans for decades(starting in the 70’s)I can’t believe that Ticketmaster can scam us again..We had 4 computers in the family going..all of us experienced the same thing..Hours looking at a screen saying we would be helped in 15 minutes or less..Bruccce where are you?

    1. Karen says:

      same here. I gave up after 3 hrs when the screen gave an error message.

  25. Donna says:

    So Ridiculous!!! Clicked on at 10.00 a.m. exactly and never received tickets 3 hours later. . . during that time I calledd “TICKETMASTER SUPPORT” and they said press “1” for tickets and I was connected right through . . . couldn’t believe it until they told me tickets were $700, $353, $214 and when I said is this Ticketmaster they said Ticketmaster Support. . . that is obvoiusly the TICKETS NOW web-site that they sent you to a few years ago and got in trouble then. They are scamming all of us and it’s a shame no one can stop them!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    BRUUUUUCE needs to put an end to this once and for all for his fans that are loyal!

    1. Ticketmaster says:

      Bruce Springsteen SUCKS. Did you read the article or can you not read? Bots attacked the TM system. TM had nothing to do with it.

  26. Christos M. Genes says:

    Yes, I did experience this problem and finally after 2 hours gave up. The last time this happened with Ticketmaster at the Measolands (Izod) Center I was able to secure tickets by filing a complaint with the New Jersey State Attornry General’s Office and was able to secure tickets. I hope that the New Jersey Attorney General intercedes again and hope to get tickets to the PruCenter “The Rock” in Newark, New Jersey …

  27. Christos M. Genes says:

    Yes, I did experience this problem and finally after 2 hours gave up. The last time this happened with Ticketmaster at the Measolands (Izod) Center I was able to secure tickets by filing a complaint with the New Jersey State Attornry General’s Office and was able to secure tickets. I hope that the New Jersey Attorney General intercedes again and hope to get tickets to the PruCenter “The Rock” in Newark, New Jersey …

  28. Springsteen nation says:

    We, as a Springsteen nation, are disappointed again!!
    In 2009 Bruce Springsteen has responded to his fans’ outcry following Ticketmaster’s problem-laden sale of his Working on a Dream tour.
    Countless fans reported technical malfunctions during the on-sale.
    We were pleasantly surprised and thankful that Springsteen stood up for his fans.

    Now, almost 3 years later, the ticket sale starts for the Wreckingball tour and the fans find out that nothing has changed.
    As individual fans there is not much we can do. We can ban scalpers by not buying their tickets but for a lot of fans that means you will not see Bruce and the E-Street band live!!!
    The Springsteen Management has to use their power to stand up for their fans AGAIN and make sure that the hard core fans get a fair change to buy tickets for a reasonable price. Bands like U2 already showed that that’s possible.



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