Local News

NC court: StubHub ticket fees not illegal

Posted March 6, 2012

Is StubHub scalping?

— The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that online ticket broker StubHub can charge a fee for its service without violating a state anti-scalping law.

Jeffrey and Lisa Hill of Greensboro sued StubHub after learning that they paid $93 above face value, as well as a 10 percent service fee, for tickets to a sold-out Hannah Montana concert in 2007.

At the time, a North Carolina consumer protection law prohibited scalping and capped service fees at $3 per ticket, so the Hills accused the California-based company of deceptive and unfair trade practices.

A Guilford County judge ruled in the couple's favor, saying that StubHub helped set the prices sellers charge for their tickets, but the appeals court unanimously ruled that the decision should be overturned.

Judges Sam Ervin IV, Cheri Beasley and Cressie Thigpen Jr. ruled that federal law provides immunity for StubHub since it only facilitates the sale of tickets and doesn't act as an agent for the sellers. Therefore, they ruled, the company cannot be limited to $3 per ticket for its services since its actions are separate from the ticket prices charged by the sellers.

The Hills settled out of court with the Massachusetts man who sold them the concert tickets through StubHub.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • tarheelras Mar 6, 2012

    I have to agree with a number of people who have posted - it is not fair that it is against the law for you to sell the tickets for more than face value and people on StubHub can. However, rather than crack down on StubHub, the law preventing local sellers should be eliminated.

    I found out about a concert I wanted to see well after tickets went on sale, and the only way to get really good seats was to pay more. I purchased the tickets from StubHub and had no illusions that what I was paying was anything close to face value. In fact, I was surprised the difference wasn't more when the tickets arrived and I saw the face value.

    I was a willing participant in the transaction, and was happy to have the option open to me. Market forces created a happy seller and a happy buyer thanks to StubHub.

  • dmccall Mar 6, 2012

    How is it fair for StubHub to be able to scalp tickets here yet I, a North Carolina resident who helped pay for the facility, can't stand in front of the RBC Center and sell mine?

  • hpr641 Mar 6, 2012

    whatelseisnew - I think you missed my biggest complaint with this law/ruling: If this is the final ruling, the whole law should go away.

    Here's the problem: A tax-paying North Carolinian takes a great risk of going to jail for trying make a few extra bucks reselling tickets outside an arena in NC. Meanwhile, someone in Alaska can buy tickets to the very same event, sell them on StubHub for as much as he wants, and have ZERO fear of being arrested for it.

    Net effect: Money leaves North Carolina event-goers' hands and into StubHub's and the sellers'. I would rather just have the law go away. At least then, most of the money stays in NC.

  • aoakley336 Mar 6, 2012

    pedsrndad, if people weren't willing to purchase the tickets at the price charged, then they wouldn't charge so much. Its really that simple. If someone is willing to pay more for something than you are that has a small supply and a high demand, they will get it. If you aren't willing to pay for it, get over it. Its a luxury item. Let's move our forcus to more important things, like how our necessities such as gas, electricity, and food are being price gouged.

  • aoakley336 Mar 6, 2012

    What a stupid law to begin with. If people are stupid enough to pay outrageous prices for tickets, let them in. Its like you are price gouging something that people HAVE to have. If someone is charging too much for tickets, then don't buy them. It's really not that difficult. Its called supply and demand.

  • piene2 Mar 6, 2012

    "was hannah montana worth all that?
    not my real name"\

    Not even if the tickets were free.

  • Mar 6, 2012

    If I sell a ticket above face value, I'm a scalper. When ticket companies do the same thing, it's called free enterprise.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Mar 6, 2012

    I'm a bit puzzled by the ruling. How is this different than someone "buying" tickets and then selling them to someone else for profit? They would also not be acting as an agent to the seller.

  • Dark_Horse Mar 6, 2012

    Ummm...you didnt HAVE to buy the tickets.

  • whatelseisnew Mar 6, 2012

    "i agree with hpr641. another roundabout way of skirting the law."

    A law is not necessary. Perhaps people need to learn how to control themselves. They could not sell the tickets at those prices unless someone is willing to hand over the money.