Live Nation magazine subscription scam duping customers out of $14.99 per purchase

by chris on January 19, 2011

Please beware that when purchasing tickets to certain events via Live Nation (Ticketmaster) you are very easily being duped into a “bonus” or “complimentary” magazine subscription. Why is this a scam?

First of all, yes, Live Nation gives you the option to ‘opt out’ of this “complimentary” subscription but it’s listed under “Privacy Information”. It should be listed elsewhere with a different heading. Also, “bonus” implies free, no cost to you, and this is not the case. Also, you must check the box to opt-out versus checking the box to opt-in.
(Click on the image below for larger version)

livenation scam privacy decline 300x40 Live Nation magazine subscription scam duping customers out of $14.99 per purchase

Secondly, if you do decline this “bonus” offer, you are then eligible for a “refund” of $14.99 if you are thorough enough to read the fine print and follow a couple links. Why are you eligible for a “refund” if this is indeed a “complimentary” offer?!


Ticket Special Bonus:
A one-year (52) subscription to Entertainment Weekly (a $14.99 value) is included in your concert ticket purchase today. Your first issue will mail in 8-12 weeks. You will not receive a bill for this magazine subscription. This offer is valid for new U.S. subscribers only and is limited to one subscription per household. Entertainment Weekly publishes eight double issues a year. Each double issue counts as two of 52 issues in an annual subscription. The subscription will be mailed to your ticket purchase order shipping address. If you would like to decline your magazine subscription you may request a $14.99 rebate. To request this rebate: please mail this completed form along with confirmation of purchase to Live Nation Rebate, Entertainment Weekly, P.O. Box 63440, Tampa, FL 33663-3440 within 30 days of your purchase.

livenation scam ticket special bonus1 300x66 Live Nation magazine subscription scam duping customers out of $14.99 per purchase

I, for one, didn’t read the fine print and received 2 issues of Entertainment Weekly in the mail. I had no idea why I was receiving this magazine until a friend, weeks later, asked me if I noticed this practice on Live Nation’s website when she was purchasing tickets for a different comedy show. That’s when it became obvious to me why I was receiving Entertainment Weekly. Of course this was 30 days after my “purchase” and too late to request a refund. I suspect this is intentional and part of the scam. By the time customers figure out what is going on, it’s too late. 6-8 weeks to receive your magazine, remember?

Here is the quote from Live Nation’s Privacy Policy:


“Newsletter and Magazine Subscriptions: When you complete the ticket purchase for our shows, you will be automatically enrolled in our newsletter. In addition, for some shows you may receive a complimentary subscription to a trade magazine. For this purpose, we will provide your name and mailing address to the magazine subscription fulfillment company. You may choose to simultaneously opt out of both subscriptions during the checkout process.”

livenation full 225x300 Live Nation magazine subscription scam duping customers out of $14.99 per purchaseYou can see the entire Live Nation final ticket purchase page to the right. (click on it to enlarge) Notice how there is a timer on it at the bottom right? It forces you to rush through the page and not read everything because you’re afraid of losing your tickets.

Let’s put a stop to this practice by complaining directory to Live Nation. You can retweet this here.

-Chris Thacker
http://alternapop.com
http://twitter.com/indiesongaday

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Update: May 11, 2011

On February 18, I purchased tickets via Live Nation to see Kevin Nealon at Cobb’s Comedy Club in San Francisco. Now that I’m aware of Live Nation’s duplicity when buying comedy tickets I was diligent enough to check the box to decline the “complimentary” magazine subscription and fill out the necessary paperwork to receive the $14.99 refund on said COMPLIMENTARY subscription. I mailed out the paperwork within a week.

On April 28th, I realized that I hadn’t received my refund so I tweeted this to @livenation and a specific Live Nation employee who follows me. She said she’d have someone look into it.

On May 2nd, Ben from Live Nation emailed me to assist. I told him that I hadn’t yet received my refund and was curious if Live Nation had a comment regarding my concerns about the nature of how these subscriptions are filled. He said he’d look into the refund and ignored my other point.

On May 4th he said that he learned that the refund had been processed and I received a voice mail that day or the next. I replied back:

“Hi Ben,
Thanks for your help with this.

So correct me if I’m misunderstanding this whole process but every time
someone orders comedy tickets online, they must opt-out of a “free”
magazine subscription yet are entitled to a refund if they both decline
the free subscription and fill out the necessary paperwork? LiveNation
expects customers to repeat this process over and over for every ticket
purchase?”

Again no reply.

Today it’s May 11th and I have yet to receive my refund. I emailed Ben, the Live Nation rep, and he replied back, “The check is on the way and you will be receiving it this week!”. This tells me that they didn’t send the check before, like he said they did, and they just got around to it. Really?

Additionally, I found this class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster (1)(2)(3)(4) from 2000! They have been doing this for over a decade.

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Update: June 1, 2011

After calling/emailing Live Nation numerous times I finally received my rebate check for $19.99. I have no idea why that was the amount versus the stated $14.99. So the three tickets I purchased totaled around $89 and I got $20 knocked off of that.

Connie May 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I wonder, if we buy multiple sets (lets say 2 sets) of tickets and opt them out, should/can we sent the same amount of rebates (2) and should they be in separate envelopes? I’m tempted to think they would only give the rebate once, if at all…even though we are supposedly paying for this already with each ticket we buy…?

Denise August 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Just looking at my paperwork and wondering when my $19.99 rebate will appear. No info on the form of how to “follow-up” on the rebate like normal. So sounds like I just wait & see…

chris August 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Denise,
I contacted care@livenation.com. I was given that email via a complaint I posted on Twitter.

I definitely got the feeling that it wasn’t ever coming unless I pestered them. Even after a rep told me the check was sent, I didn’t get it for another week after I emailed the rep back saying I hadn’t received it yet.

The whole thing just has ‘rip off’ written all over it. They are flat out scamming people but can’t get sued because if you pester them enough for the $20 they’ll eventually pay you back.

The lawsuit I linked to above from a DECADE ago was settled out of court and the details are private. I suspect that Live Nation changed their practices just enough to not get sued successfully yet still take advantage of customers.

Chris

Jerry near Buffalo September 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm

I purchased tickets for 3 events through Live Nation this year. I received rebates for the first 2 concerts, have been waiting for last one. After 3 attempts to contact them, they finally tell me only 1 rebate per household. So I’m paying for a subscription I do not want? I will be contacting the New York State attorney generals office this week to see if They will have any input.

Wanton November 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I called Visa after Ticketmaster refused to call me back – It took me 6 months to figure out why I suddenly was getting EW.
Oh, and then I reported them to the FBI thru the Cybercrime website…

Joanna April 7, 2014 at 8:46 am

What constitutes confirmation of purchase?

I am very confused and disappointed to read this about Ticketmaster. It is just wrong. Luckily I had the time to read the fine print.

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