Kijiji, StubHub refuse to allow scalper ads for Gord Downie Halifax tickets

Concert scalpers will have to find venues other than Kijiji Canada and StubHub to unload tickets to Gord Downie’s Secret Path concert in Halifax. The online classified sites have banned them.

“This is really troubling to our users, it is something we wanted to take a look at,” Kijiji Canada communications manager Shawn MacIntyre said from the company’s Toronto office.

Tickets to the Nov. 29 concert at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium went on sale through promoter Sonic Concerts and the Dalhousie Arts Centre at noon Thursday but were gone within minutes. The venue seats 1,023 people.

Then ads began popping up on Kijiji and its sister company StubHub for triple the price and more.

Magnified disappointment

“This issue first came to our attention yesterday afternoon. We started hearing from members of our community about users reselling tickets to that event at a higher-than-retail value,” MacIntyre said.

“We’re a Canadian company, so this is near and dear to our hearts as well. We didn’t want to be associated with the reselling of the tickets to that event so we just removed them.”

As of 2 p.m. AT, there were no ads offering to sell tickets to the concert, however, a number of postings were looking for tickets.

The project Secret Path is a set of songs and a graphic novel honouring Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old Ojibway boy who died from hunger and exposure after trying to find his way home from a residential school near Kenora, Ont., 50 years ago. Proceeds are being donated to The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation.


StubHub and its sister company Kijiji Canada aren’t allowing the resale of Gord Downie’s Secret Path concert in Halifax on their ad sites. (StubHub)

Fans were disappointed at not to be able to get tickets. When they saw them being resold at such a large markup, it magnified their disappointment, MacIntyre said.

“Users were [also] disappointed that we allowed that or supported that. We do support the cause this is fundraising for, we don’t want this to cast a negative light on that event. We made the decision to pull any ad that was posted,” he said.

“We had already done a sweep last night and this morning but as you know, people will try to repost on Kijiji so we’ll be monitoring quite frequently to make sure that ads for these tickets don’t reappear.”

StubHub dropped ads

StubHub is taking the same action, said MacIntyre. The two companies are owned by eBay Inc.

MacIntyre said the sites try to balance the concerns of both the vendors and buyers.

“We review the factors that are there. Obviously it is legal to resell these tickets but [the action] is really not in the best interest of our community members,” he said. 

“We also have the position of wanting to have a free market wherever possible, where people aren’t breaking the law. In this case, they obviously are not.”

He said this case was very sensitive to Canadians. Kijiji got “a lot of feedback” about the disrespect it showed to the cause, he said.

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