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Taylor Swift tour presale woes land Ticketmaster in hot water with both fans and Congressmembers

Ticketmaster faces heap of criticism over Taylor Swift presale issues
Ticketmaster faces heap of criticism over Taylor Swift presale issues 02:12

NEW YORK -- Ticketmaster faces a heap of criticism from Taylor Swift fans who tried to buy presale tickets for her tour Tuesday but instead ran into technical issues, long virtual lines and, now, sky-high resale prices.

As CBS2's Tim McNicholas reports, their frustration is spilling over into the halls of Congress.

Taylor Swift fan Emma Ramos spent most of her day in the dreaded queue. At one point, Ticketmaster told her more than 2,000 Swifties were ahead of her in line, but when she finally tried to buy a ticket, the site gave her an error message.

"In total, I was waiting for about five hours," Ramos said.

"And you never got one?" McNicholas asked.

"No," Ramos said.

She never got a ticket even though she registered in advance to be eligible for the presale through a system called Ticketmaster Verified Fan. Verified Fan and presales in general are supposed to help people buy tickets at face value before the prices skyrocket.

"They're not fulfilling their service of getting tickets into the hands of loyal fans. They're going to scalpers. They're going to resellers," Ramos said.

Tickets for the May concerts at MetLife Stadium are already listed on StubHub and Vivid Seats. The cheapest seats are around $400 dollars, and the most expensive, near the stage, are going for $17,000.

"The market is too wide open. It's too unregulated," New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. said.

In a phone call Tuesday, Pascrell described Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, as a monopoly that should be broken up.

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared a similar message on social media, saying a lack of competition can "drive up prices, worsen inflation and crush competition."

"The live events ticket market is more unregulated, I'd say, than the Wild West. Congress has to pass rules and has to pass safeguards," Pascrell said.

It's far from the first time Ticketmaster has faced criticism over high-demand events. From Bad Bunny to Bruce Springsteen, fans have slammed the company over technical issues and prices.

In a statement to CBS2, Ticketmaster acknowledged delays for the Taylor Swift presale, saying:

"Millions of fans registered for Taylor Swift's Eras Verified Fan Presale, with demand more than twice the number of tickets available - then on top of that millions more showed up to try to buy. This caused some delays for fans which we know is frustrating and we worked as quickly as possible to adjust some onsale times to manage the volume, and queues are now flowing.

"The Taylor Swift tour is promoted by AEG and Messina Touring Group, not Live Nation. The artist's team chose to use Verified Fan because it is the most advanced technology in the industry to help manage demand and get tickets into the hands of fans - not bots. We thank everyone for their patience as we continue to work through the biggest onsale in history."

"I felt sad just because I'm a huge Swiftie," Ramos said.

Ramos can't quite shake it off just yet.

"I haven't given up yet, but I definitely felt frustrated," she said.

Ticketmaster handled a vast majority of the sales. For some venues, sales were executed through SeatGeek.

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