The “hidden costs” that are the subject of a class action request against Fever do not stem from a “bad intention”, but from a simple mistake in designation, argues the event giant.
The sum added by the ticketing service at the end of the transaction, which represents approximately 15% of the invoice, was called “management fees” on the transactional site. Rather, it corresponds to the taxes that Quebecers must pay, says Fever.
“I can confirm that our teams are currently looking into the matter and that it seems that our platform has mislabeled the taxes applicable to tickets sold for events in Quebec,” writes Luc Faure, communications manager for the producer and ticketing service, in an e-mail sent to The Press.
At the time of publication, we could see that Fever had replaced the name “management fee” with the formula “tax per ticket”.
Unlike management or service fees, sums that “must be collected to be remitted to a public authority” can be added at the time of payment, according to the Consumer Protection Office.
Jimmy Lambert, of Lambert Avocats, responsible for the collective action, does not believe in Fever’s explanation, which he considers “highly implausible”. The fees charged represent 14.63% to 15.68% depending on the category of tickets, notes the lawyer. “If it were taxes, the percentage would be the same regardless of the ticket category. »
In Quebec, the combined taxes (GST and QST) are 14.975%. This percentage is exactly the fee charged by Fever for its popular orchestral concert series. candle light. However, a visit to the transactional site on Thursday revealed that other events were posting slightly variable rates around 15%.
Questioned again, Mr. Faure, from Fever, admitted himself astonished by these variations. “Our theory is that an error in our system led to a rounding of tax amounts, which obviously should not have been the case,” he said. We will rectify the situation as soon as possible. »
Thousands of customers
In a class action request, Lambert Avocats demands “the reimbursement of management fees paid by Quebec consumers who purchased a ticket for an event on the [Fever] or on its mobile application since May 28, 2019”. The group is seeking an additional $100 per member as punitive damages.
According to Me Lambert, tens of thousands of customers could be affected. The situation at the origin of the collective action concerns the immersive experience Harry Potter – The Great Christmas Ballwhich takes place at Salon 1861, in Montreal, until January 29, 2023.
The group’s representative, Michel Plunus, paid a “management fee” of $22.80 on the purchase of “a standard adult entry ticket and a standard youth entry ticket”, can we read in the documents filed on November 14 in Superior Court.
An email as evidence
According to Me Lambert, a written response from Fever customer service invalidates the theory of mislabeled taxes. “Unfortunately, the experience organizer has decided to apply a handling fee to the ticket payment, which must be paid by all customers as stated in Fever’s purchasing rules,” a representative from the company wrote. event platform to Mr. Plunus, in an email that will be presented in court.
According to article 224 of the Consumer Protection Actin effect since 2010, “no merchant, manufacturer or advertiser may, by any means whatsoever, demand a higher price for a good or service than that which is advertised”.
“The all-inclusive price that you advertise must include the service or administration fees and the mandatory fees related to the delivery of the ticket”, states the Office of consumer protection.
In the past, class action suits filed in Quebec against Ticketmaster and StubHub for “hidden fees” have resulted in settlements.