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Class-action suit charges misuse of credit data

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 19, 2000

TAMPA -- A Tampa law firm on Monday filed a class-action suit against Ticketmaster and Time, Inc., charging that the two companies shared credit card information to start magazine subscriptions that customers did not order.

The lead plantiff in the case is Valrico resident Victoria McLean, whose credit card was billed for nearly $400 in merchandise and subscriptions without her permission after she used it to order concert tickets from Ticketmaster earlier this year. McLean was one of 20 people who complained to the Florida Attorney General's office about Ticketmaster and Time Inc. On a national level, the suit alleges, many more people have been victimized by the companies' practices.

The suit, filed in Hillsborugh Circuit Court by the firm of James, Hoyer, Newcomer and Smiljanich, charges that Ticketmaster and Time Inc. violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and that plantiffs have suffered damages since they have to go through the time-consuming process of canceling the subscriptions.

Responding last week for a story about the complaints, a Ticketmaster spokesman said the company only offers a way for customers to set up subscriptions, and denied the company is "giving" away credit card information.

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