Couldn't get tickets to see Hannah Montana? You're not alone — and some fans are fighting back via a class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday (November 13) against the official Miley Cyrus (a.k.a. Hannah) fan club.
Filed in the name of a New Jersey woman who joined the fan club (at MileyWorld.com), the lawsuit represents "all other persons similarly situated," meaning anyone else who joined the fan club in the hopes that it would make it easier to attend 14-year-old Cyrus' first major tour. "They deceptively lured thousands of individuals into purchasing memberships, based on the understanding that by joining, they would be able to purchase tickets before they were offered for sale to the general public, and that's why we're suing," said Pittsburgh attorney Rob Peirce, of Robert Peirce & Associates P.C. The lawsuit was jointly filed in federal court in Tennessee by Memphis attorney B.J. Wade of the firm Glassman, Edwards, Wade & Wyatt, since both companies governing Cyrus' fan club, Interactive Media Marketing and Smiley Miley, are based in Tennessee.
"While the club and the Web site do not guarantee ticket availability, they explicitly state that members who log on shortly after tickets become available will have a good opportunity to get tickets," Peirce said. "In reality, the vast majority of club members, including those who logged on at the appointed time or shortly thereafter, were unable to obtain concert tickets."
Kerry Inman, on whose behalf the lawsuit was filed, tried to get tickets for the Atlantic City, New Jersey, performance of Hannah Montana's Best of Both Worlds tour at the exact moment tickets were made to be available for sale yet couldn't get any tickets. Peirce estimates that there are several thousand people who suffered the same fate over the past few months.
"You cannot confuse this fan club with a grass-roots, teen-run operation," said attorney Joseph Capobianco of the Garden City, New York, firm Reisman, Peirez and Reisman (which is not involved in the class-action suit). "They set out to take advantage of kids and their parents. Seeking damages on a $30 investment is not unreasonable. We need to make sure our youngsters are protected from the unscrupulous. A victory in a suit of this nature will restore their faith in business and let them know that when they are taken advantage of, the legal community is there to back them up."
In a statement issued Tuesday, Cyrus rep Meghan Prophet said, "The MileyWorld Web site expressly states that MileyWorld does not guarantee every member a concert ticket. MileyWorld members had far greater access to concert tickets than the general public and other fan clubs, and the claim that the vast majority of MileyWorld members were unable to obtain concert tickets is simply false. MileyWorld will vigorously defend itself from the frivolous claims in the lawsuit."
While some of the problems getting tickets could be blamed on "the unscrupulous," some industry experts told MTV News that the lack of tickets is mostly a result of good old supply and demand. Some of that supply and demand, however, was attributed to fan-club sales. Kansas City, Missouri's Spring Center, for instance, has 18,500 seats; only 11,000 seats were made available for the concert, of which 4,000 were sold to the public, with the rest going to the fan club, according to the National Association of Ticket Brokers. AEG Live spokeswoman Debra Rathwell told MarketWatch that the Hannah Montana fan club would get first dibs to approximately half the ticket supply.
Anyone who joined the Miley Cyrus fan club but couldn't get Hannah Montana tickets and wants to join the class-action lawsuit can call (800) 543-9859 for more information.
[This story was originally published at 6:45 p.m. ET on 11.13.07]