DENVER — A Denver man is part of a group of more than two dozen Taylor Swift fans from across the U.S. that are collectively suing Ticketmaster.
Joe Akmakjian has been a "Swiftie" for over a decade.
"Since her debut album came out. I was probably, I think, 16 or so," he said. "I feel like her music is really relatable, it's catchy. She is really great at, like, connecting with the audience, talking with them."
Akmakjian and his friends have been waiting for Swift to announce a tour for years.
"I've been kinda prepping for this," Akmakjian said. "Her concerts are very inviting and very fun and memorable."
However, he was not prepared for what would happen in November when he tried to get tickets to Taylor Swift's 52-date Eras Tour.
Akmakjian was selected to receive a presale code from Ticketmaster, but it was for a day that he did not register for.
"It was for a different Denver date. And so I was like, 'Okay, well, I guess that's the date I'm gonna go to,'" he recalled. "I made it through the queue, and then it kicked me directly back out."
One the day Ticketmaster released the tickets, Akmakjian said he waited a total of nine hours to finally get into the queue, but said all the seats were gone when it finally came time to purchase the tickets.
Akmakjian, who is in a wheelchair, said he eventually got tickets the following day during Capital One's presale, but believes it is only because they were wheelchair-accessible tickets.
"The last three tickets that were available were accessible tickets, so no one was buying them. So if I wasn't in a wheelchair, I don't think that I would have purchased tickets," he said.
Attorney Jennifer Kinder, who is based in Texas, is a Swiftie herself. She is representing 26 plaintiffs from all over the country, including Akmakjian.
The 33-page complaint filed Friday claims Ticketmaster violated multiple anti-trust laws, including anti-competitive conduct and fraud.
"The lawsuit is based on anti-trust, fraud and misrepresentation. The anti-trust claims sort-of in a nutshell, in a very simplified version, is that there was really never free market ability to obtain these tickets," said Kinder. "It's all manipulated and controlled by Ticketmaster. The fraud and misuse of representation are also based on elements of how the sale was set up. This was the most convoluted set up that you that you've ever seen."
Kinder said she currently has plaintiffs from 11 states, but more than 100 people have expressed interest in joining the lawsuit.
"Messing with Taylor Swift fans was definitely a mistake," said Kinder. "They did everything that Ticketmaster told them to do. The only thing that they left with is, like, heartbreak and no ticket — no chance at a ticket."
Kinder is asking for transparency for herself and her clients.
"We believe we're entitled to know what they did, why they did it and if this system is fair, because the way it looks now is that you've got millions of Taylor Swift fans who can't go to a concert that they've been going to for two decades because they're priced out of the market," she said.
Ticketmaster has not yet released a public statement regarding the lawsuit.
While Akmakjian is excited to see Swift in concert this summer, he wants justice for his fellow Swifties.
"You'll see almost every variation that you can imagine — people that qualified for codes but never received code, so they never received a chance. You'll see someone who got a code that didn't work, who got a code that did work. Our lead plaintiff, she tried 41 times to check out and had $14,000 charged to her credit card," added Kinder. "We have several plaintiffs that once they actually got their tickets, they're restricted view, because we believe that once this panic set in, that they started releasing tickets behind the stage. So people towards the end of the sale were purchasing anything they could put in their basket, without the time to look at where it came from."
"I think that's really unfair to do to so many people who are just trying to, like, celebrate that there's an awesome experience they want to have and, you know, get to celebrate, like, her finally going on tour. She has so much new music out, her music affects so many people," added Akmakjian.