Is This Even Legal?

(I was holding off on writing about this when it looked like Ticketmaster and the TD Garden might make right for what they did, but it appears they aren’t going to do that, so here’s the story of our piss-poor ticket experience.)
When I ordered the tickets from Ticketmaster for the Madonna show at Boston’s TD Garden, the only ones left were with a side view. I’d had side views before – so long as no obstruction was noted, they were always fine. In fact, they were usually good for getting behind-the-scenes views you don’t normally get, which for an uber-fan like me is always cool. Even though they looked like they were somewhat behind the stage, rather than to the side, I still figured we’d get a good enough vantage point. Of course, it can’t hurt to ask, so when we got to the TD Garden, I went to a ticket counter and asked if there was a possibility of an upgrade. I was told no, but that our seats should be fine, as even the side views were pretty good. Emboldened by this encouragement, I relaxed a little, until we found our seats and realized we could not see any of the main stage. I mean – none of it. An enormous bank of lights was set right in front of our section. This wasn’t just a side view – this was a blatantly obstructed view – and none of it was noted on the tickets at the time of sale, or at any point thereafter, or I never would have purchased them. ($380 for two tickets happens to be a lot for me, even if it is Madonna.)
I tracked down an usher and said that our view was completely blocked, asking if there was anywhere else we could be seated, and she dismissed me saying that there were no other options as the show was sold out. She did not mention the option of talking to a manager or checking if there were any other spots in the building to afford a better view. At this point there were a number of disgruntled patrons, as our entire section could clearly not see anything. I hoped against hope that maybe, just maybe, this bank of lights would rise once the show began, and all would be well with the world – after all, how could they sell tickets that had such a blocked view with no mention or notation of it? At the very least, it was misleading, if not completely misrepresentative of what we were paying for.
Of course, those lights did not move. And those big side screens for the people in the way back? They were directly above our heads, so we didn’t even get to watch them. I was lucky enough to have an idea of what was going on (based on far too many YouTube sneak peeks), but Andy hadn’t a clue what was going on, and the show was effectively ruined for him (and would have been for me too if I didn’t have the luxury of seeing her again in New York later). My question is how could Ticketmaster and the TD Garden sell seats like this without any indication of the obstructed view? I thought that such things had to be clearly spelled out, otherwise a refund would be granted. At any rate, I’ll be looking into whether similar incidents have happened at the TD Garden and with Ticketmaster – I know I’m just one small insignificant voice in their ticket monopoly, but if we keep up enough of a battle, we may see some changes. And hopefully no one will have to miss a Madonna show ever again.
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