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Ticket reseller loses bid to stop suit trial

Judge: Firm may have violated law

A Quincy District Court judge yesterday ordered that a ticket scalping complaint against a Weymouth company should go to trial to determine whether the firm's offer of an $85 Red Sox-Yankees ticket for $500 violated state law.

Admit One Ticket Agency LLC of Weymouth had argued that the complaint should be dismissed out of hand, but Judge Mark S. Coven rejected the company's motion, allowing Dorchester consumer activist Colman Herman's lawsuit to proceed to trial early next month.

Admit One had argued that the state's antiscalping statute was never triggered because Herman had never actually purchased a ticket in 2005, only inquired about the sale price. Admit One cited a similar complaint by Herman against a Boston ticket reseller that was dismissed in June by the state Department of Public Safety because no purchase occurred. The Department of Public Safety licenses ticket resellers in Massachusetts.

Coven rejected Admit One's argument and a secondary plea that Herman had suffered no harm and therefore was not entitled to bring a claim under the state's Consumer Protection Act.

"The causal connection between unfair activity and harm is present," Coven wrote. "The court sees no requirement that this plaintiff salt his injury by requiring the purchase of an illegally priced ticket in order to have standing to bring an action for an unfair business practice violation."

Admit One also had argued that its prices were legal under the antiscalping statute. The statute bars resellers from charging more than $2 above face value, but it also allows the imposition of a fee and the collection of any office expenses or processing charges in connection with credit card purchases. Admit One said all of its sales are done via credit card and the law places no cap on the fees it can collect.

Coven said the credit card issue would have to be decided at trial.

Bruce Mohl can be reached at mohl@globe.com.

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