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January 26th, 2005

..all this legal babble.. @ 01:01 am

forsberg21:
I'm currently feelin: calm calm
I'm currently hearin: U2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday

For anyone believing in legal action

This is in response to the letter posted regarding what people can do about the "promise" made by U2.com for this presale... not to burst anyone's bubble, but I just think that this should be read, since I know a lot of people want to take action (we're U2 fans, aren't we?) and it's not worth getting really revved up about some of it. Why then...?



Again, I don't wanna sound rude or crush anyone's hopes, but...

That letter by Rhianna Anglin makes a couple of good points, but only about scalpers.

The majority of the letter, when it comes to how the presale was held, is almost a waste of one's breath, if you ask me. From "3) U2.COM made us a PROMISE written in ink" on down is bit unrealistic...

If I were looking at this from a legal perspective, I'd be looking at the wording of "priority booking." If U2 has good lawyers, or anyone involved in this does (which I assume they do), the careful wording of the promise made to U2 fans - if a promise at all, that should be defined, too, because this goes into issues of whether or not there's a "contract" - anyways, if the lawyers are good, then the lawyers have defined what that means. Definitions are what make the world go round. And if legal action were to be taken and one would argue this "promise" made on the U2.com site, "priority booking" would be defined as something like... oh... an early chance to get tickets. And yes, I said chance. I bet you, if you look real hard, it's defined somewhere.

And as a cardholder, the rights to get all in a tizzy over this and do something about it? Hell no. They sold several different things in this package, and priority booking was only a part of it... let me correct myself, a code to access priority booking was only a part of it. You paid, you got a code, and you as the customer were responsible for how you went about using that code. So far, we have seen nothing on the North American side that has indicated that Ticketmaster or U2.com or U2, period, has been responsible for truly screwing this up (let's face it: was there a better way to do this?).

Update: In reference to Ticketmaster being at fault for technical difficulties... from http://www.ticketmaster.com/h/terms.html:

TICKETMASTER DOES NOT PROMISE THAT THE SITE WILL BE ERROR-FREE, UNINTERRUPTED, OR THAT IT WILL PROVIDE SPECIFIC RESULTS FROM USE OF THE SITE OR ANY CONTENT, SEARCH OR LINK ON IT.

I think that the internal server error problem falls under that.

Of the things for which Ticketmaster could be at fault for, I can only think of technical difficulties or distribution of false numbers/false guarantees (there was no guarantee that anyone would get tickets, people, you need to realize that)/false statements.

Sadly... everyone who got into this should've been aware that this kind of thing would've happened; the high volume of people purchasing a membership, and thus a code, would lead to this. Nowhere, I say nowhere, was anyone guaranteed tickets. Nowhere. We were only guaranteed a code to access ticket sales early. That's it.

I highly doubt legal action will occur regarding any of this, maybe in Europe due to technical difficulties (with Ticketbastard actually at fault), but never here. U2, Ticketmaster, and anyone affiliated with the two probably have solid disclaimers readily available and will cancel out any possibility of complaints being legitimate. It's just how it works.

However, I think that contacting media organizations and getting up a stir about how this was carried out is actually a good idea. Sure, there really isn't a better way to do this, to be completely honest, but making people aware of it and getting ideas out is a good idea. We gotta remember... do these people really care about the fans? No, they don't. To them, the people underneath U2, this is not that big of a deal. Tickets will always be sold, and that's all they care about. They're employed to do this, and as long as U2 approves of it, then they're going to continue to be the people to carry this out. Keep in mind, if U2 is playing a venue near you, chances are that the venue is manipulated by Ticketbastard, and chances are that contracts made separate from U2 is the reason that Ticketbastard is still running all of this. Blame lawyers and big corporations. This was a problem long before 10am today, and long before the tour was even announced. This was a problem when Ticketbastard and its manipulated venues began signing contracts, plain and simple.

This Rhianna will get laughed at, unfortunately. Passion for a band is not in a legal dictionary.




-Jen
 
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From:amphibious_one
Date:January 26th, 2005 08:21 am (UTC)
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T/F: Is Ticketmaster run by the mafia?
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From:forsberg21
Date:January 26th, 2005 08:25 am (UTC)
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Haha. Wouldn't surprise me.
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From:roads_outgrown
Date:January 26th, 2005 08:30 am (UTC)
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So far, we have seen nothing on the North American side that has indicated that Ticketmaster or U2.com or U2, period, has been responsible for truly screwing this up (let's face it: was there a better way to do this?).

Both ticketmaster and u2.com crashed during the US presales, with it becoming almost impossible to get past internal server errors during the west coast sales.

Note, I eventually did and got GA tickets but that's another matter entirely.

(let's face it: was there a better way to do this?)

Absolutely. Plenty of other bands manage it. DMB, Pearl Jam, David Bowie, REM... all bands who can handle a presale. U2's management should perhaps observe what works and act on it.
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From:forsberg21
Date:January 26th, 2005 08:57 am (UTC)
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from http://www.ticketmaster.com/h/terms.html

"TICKETMASTER DOES NOT PROMISE THAT THE SITE WILL BE ERROR-FREE, UNINTERRUPTED, OR THAT IT WILL PROVIDE SPECIFIC RESULTS FROM USE OF THE SITE OR ANY CONTENT, SEARCH OR LINK ON IT."

Definitions are everything. They're bastards, they really are. This is why media law is becoming a big thing... these things need to be regulated. But how? Hmpf.

As for doing it better, well, yeah. You're right, but I don't know anything about DMB's or Pearl Jam's, osv., presales. But we'd have to get that changed and we can't really look back on the problems during this presale. Things should've been changed after Elevation.
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From:amphibious_one
Date:January 26th, 2005 09:04 am (UTC)
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Sometimes we have too much faith that technology will work just because it's technological. An internet sale will work because it's automated. Hurrah!

In an interesting kind of parallel, the NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority) did not upload high school end of year exam results to its website until the results letter had already been mailed out. The year before we'd been able to find our results straight away on the website- it crashed and was down a day.
So, NZQA combatted this problem by reverting to the old, snail mail ways. The long way 'round has worked for several hundred years, I guess... why change it! *looks towards u2, in vain*
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From:roads_outgrown
Date:January 27th, 2005 03:38 am (UTC)
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I'm not suggesting legal action. I don't think any would hold up in court. But it still was ticketmaster's fault for being ill equipped to handle the load of customers.

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From:laughing_shadow
Date:January 26th, 2005 09:44 am (UTC)
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I disagree. When you claim that a U2.com subscription provides merely "a code to access priority booking", you imply that whether or not the fan actually does have access to said booking is ultimately not the responsibility of U2.com. However, a quick look at the band's website shows that this is clearly not the case. U2.com's subscription info page promises "priority ticketing for booking sales", but more importantly:

"... we have secured agreement for U2.Com members to be provided with an advance window when they can buy U2 tickets at all venues before they are offered to the general public."</i>

And if you click the link to the FAQ section, it also promises "you will be able to buy tickets... before they go on sale to the general public".

What U2.com advertises is obviously not a code to access the pre-sale with, but rather access to the presale itself. This is really important, because a lot of fans didn't have any access at all to the pre-sale owing to technical problems with the site. U2.com failed to deliver fans a service it clearly promised them. And if U2.com wants to take it back and say that access was never what it guaranteed, they are therefore fairly obviously guilty of product misrepresentation/misleading advertising.

Your argument that legal action is impossible because a U2.com subscription consists of many things other than pre-sale access also doesn't hold up - not to my way of thinking, at least. Compare it to taking back a retail item. If you buy, say, a digital camera and printer dock as part of a package, and the printer dock doesn't work, you are still entitled to a refund on the whole package, because it was sold as one 'item'. It does not have to be completely dysfunctional to entitle you to your money back - it just has to fail to do everything its makers promise. And, as I argued earlier, this is clearly what has happened in the U2.com subscription case.

I agree, Ticketbastard have probably dodged legal responsibility, but personally I think there's a definite case that could be mounted against U2.com.

Concluding remarks: an attempted legal case is also a great way of attracting media attention, if we really want to make a fuss. More importantly - you argue that U2 have probably created some kind of legal loophoole here, and hence we shouldn't bother trying. It is possible - but it's equally possible that they haven't done so. How will we know for sure, unless we give it a go?

Edit: last post deleted because I forgot to close an italics bracket. Hate it when that happens!
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From:ladyreo
Date:January 26th, 2005 11:52 am (UTC)
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They did not promise you a ticket per se, they promised you a chance to buy a ticket. As anyone who has been around the customer service industry knows, offering the ability to buy a product, no matter the wording, does not guarantee the product will be available if the allocation sells out. All sale advertisments have an unwritten 'until sold out' clause. The wording argument would not hold up in court as the (dismally miniscule) amount was actually available for sale but sold out. I think what happened was a fiasco however, there were no legally binding guarantees that all members who wanted a ticket would get one, only that a certain amount of tickets would be made available to members quick enough to get in first. Unfortunately, the commercial lawyers that u2.com would undoubtedly have on staff know their stuff and have covered their asses. The fact that posts in this community before the presale indicated that members knew they had to get in early to get tickets before they sold out would only cement their case. I think it is awful and I have always seen this kind of practice as unethical, but what company does not behave like this today? Who else would the band hire that is better? They certainly cannot take on the duties themselves as that would leave them no time to do what they do best. It sucks, but they would win. I do agree, however , that we should make a fuss. We should definately stand up and show ticketbastard and clearchannel that we, as fans, are not going to be shat on and treated like this. We just have a better chance through media, rather than legal, channels.
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From:laughing_shadow
Date:January 27th, 2005 07:27 am (UTC)
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They did not promise you a ticket per se, they promised you a chance to buy a ticket.

Yes, I'm aware of that (I've also worked in customer service, by the way). That's the point I make in my original comment to forsberg21 - she claims all U2.com advertise is access to a code for the pre-sale, when what they are actually advertising is access to the pre-sale itself. See my initial post for site quotes and links. Because of internal site problems, many fans did not have any access to the pre-sale whatsoever - once the site crashed, they found themselves locked out of the pre-sale.

So... the point is... these people actually did not get
what they were promised, that is a chance to buy pre-sale tickets. The 'good' U2.com were selling is faulty. Surely they are therefore entitled to a refund?

I'm not talking to a massive class action... I just mean that if a retailer tried to do this to me, I'd rush off and make a complaint to the Australian Consumer & Competition Commission, and I'd feel reasonably confident that the ACCC would get me a refund. No need for lawyers - they're way too expensive! Of course, the internationality of the debacle affects this somewhat :D

But anyway, people can decide for themselves how they are to act. I just thought that the arguments in the original post were incorrect, and I still do :P
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From:forsberg21
Date:January 27th, 2005 08:02 am (UTC)
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I still don't think that they defined it as "access." Is access defined by having the code? Or is it by getting to the stage of searching for tickets?

Sadly, this is the USA. Our BBB is not your ACCC.
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From:ladyreo
Date:January 27th, 2005 12:09 pm (UTC)
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Actually Ticketbastard did not provide the goods. U2.com had nothing to do with the faulty access to the site, especially since Ticketbastard admitted this publicly after the fact. Their disclaimer covers their asses. The codes did not work because the ticketing site timed them out. Nothing to do with U2.com. The girl who made the original post was legally spot on. The practice may have been unethical and shitty, but legally it would stand up in any court.

And yes, people can decide for themselves how to act. They can also not be taken seriously.
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From:forsberg21
Date:January 27th, 2005 05:57 pm (UTC)
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Don't get confused between Europe and North America's situations, though, because the codes worked for NA, not for Europe. Ticketmaster's site was inaccessible for NA.
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From:ladyreo
Date:January 28th, 2005 01:15 am (UTC)
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Yes, I know, I was addressing his statement that it was U2.coms fault the codes did not work when it wasn't. In both situations it was ticketbastard who fucked up, either through inaccessability or through the timing out of codes. They have admitted fault on both counts publicly. Legally, as you origionaly stated I believe, no one has a leg to stand on.
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From:forsberg21
Date:January 28th, 2005 02:31 am (UTC)
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Good. Sadly, so many people missed out, and that's the big thing... hopefully my friends will have better luck on Saturday. I'm gonna have a tough time going without them!
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From:mellyg14
Date:January 26th, 2005 03:16 pm (UTC)
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As far as legal action goes - I'm going into contract law, and I can tell you that no one woudl really have a good case (there have been cases like this before where the court has ruled there was no promise)

If anyone wants a better explanation, I will give one, I just don't want to bore the community with a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo;)
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From:forsberg21
Date:January 26th, 2005 04:50 pm (UTC)
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That was my point. And yeah, I have a great interest in law, but I agree... this would not hold up anywhere. A judge would review it and ask, "Are you stupid?"

And where are the reading skills ?!? Do people not read clearly enough?? Obviously, nobody was guaranteed a ticket. End of story.
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From:mellyg14
Date:January 26th, 2005 05:28 pm (UTC)
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are you planning on going to law school? if so - feel free to chat with me, melchat16 on aol - i can give you lots of tips:) (I'm a dork - anyone that will let me talk about law or give them advice on law school, etc - i'm there!)

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