Local News

State Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Stanley Cup Ticket Scalpers

Posted June 5, 2002 5:26 a.m. EDT

— Attorney General Roy Cooper filed a lawsuit Wednesday against ticket companies he said were trying to sell hockey playoff tickets at illegally high prices.

"These corporate scalpers systematically bought hundreds of tickets to resell for big profits. That deprives fans of a chance to buy tickets at face value," Cooper said.

"State law is clear, and it doesn't change just because we're in the Stanley Cup Finals."

The Carolina Hurricanes and the Detroit Red Wings are competing for the Stanley Cup, the National Hockey League's championship. At least two games will be played at Raleigh's Entertainment and Sports Arena; the first is Saturday.

Tickets for games at the ESA sold out in less than an hour. Many were bought by ticket companies, who in turn resold the tickets to fans for as much as $1,000 per ticket or more, Cooper said.

Selling tickets for more than $3 above the original price is against North Carolina law.

In the Wake County Superior Court complaint, Cooper alleged that Encore Tickets and Tours Inc. of Dallas, Texas; Premiere Tickets and Tours Inc. of Cary; Ticket Solutions Inc. of Overland Park, Kan.; Empire Entertainment and Travel Inc. of Atlanta, Ga.; Ideal Ticket Agency Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio, and Padgett Business Services of Johnson County in Prairie Village, Kan., broke the law.

Premiere Tickets' Internet site didn't list ticket prices, but said packages included a bus ride to the arena from a Raleigh bar and a party. The company's lawyer did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

Cooper said some of the companies have agreed to return their tickets to the ESA box office.

Cooper spokesman John Bason said a Wake Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday barring the brokers, except Premier, from advertising or selling Stanley Cup tickets for more than $3 above face value.

Premier was allowed to charge $150 more than face value because its price includes the bus ride and party, Bason said.

The companies named in the complaint offered Stanley Cup tickets for sale via advertisements in local media. Ads directed consumers to a toll-free telephone number or an Internet website, where they learned tickets were more than $3 above face value, Cooper said.

The suit asks that the companies return any illegal earnings and pay civil penalties.