Photograph by Robert Kirk — Getty Images
By David Z. Morris
June 18, 2016

We are near the end of the mandated period for Ticketmaster to notify beneficiaries of a $400 million class action settlement reached last month. And since the settlement applies to anyone who purchased tickets on Ticketmaster’s website between October 21st, 1999 and February 27th, 2013 – a group that totals around 50 million people—there’s a good chance you’re a lucky winner.

Or, to be more precise, a lucky victim. The suit, Curt Schlesinger et al. v. Ticketmaster, claimed that Ticketmaster’s fees during the period were deceptive and misleading. Specifically, Ticketmaster’s Order Processing Fee and UPS delivery fees were found to be unrelated to the actual costs of those services, but merely, as described by the firm administering the claim, “profit generators.”

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The involvement of UPS shipping for tickets hints at just how old this litigation is—the suit was initially filed more than a decade ago.

Though the settlement’s small-dollar rebates initially inspired some ire, it looks like class members will also be getting free vouchers for tickets—one pair per purchase during the settlement period. The tickets will be good for shows at venues owned or operated by LiveNation, which merged with Ticketmaster in 2010. Both vouchers and tickets should be reflected automatically in the Ticketmaster/LiveNation accounts of eligible customers.

It’s unclear exactly how useful the free ticket vouchers will really be, though. They’ll only be redeemable, according to Billboard, if class members don’t redeem their discount codes in sufficient numbers in the coming year. Even when they’re activated, the tickets will only be good for a limited selection of events, though the settlement requires that they cover 60% of events in LiveNation operated amphitheaters.

For more on Ticketmaster, watch our video.

As Slate previously reported, even this modest, complicated payout may be among the last of its kind. Companies have overwhelmingly adopted the practice of including arbitration clauses their terms of use agreements with customers, prohibiting them from pursuing restitution through the court system. Ticketmaster itself implemented such a clause in 2011.

The impact of the settlement (which you can read here) on future customers isn’t exactly mind-blowing. When Ticketmaster charges a processing fee from here on out, it merely has to inform customers that it “may include a profit” for the company.

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