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N.Y. museum accused of duping customers into paying entrance fee, suit says

Plaintiffs want the Met to make clear that the $25 admission fee is only a recommendation

Visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA, and informally known at the Met) in New York can wander around the large museum and peruse its beautiful artwork absolutely free, but you’d never know that. At least, that’s what a lawsuit filed yesterday in a New York court claims.

According to plaintiffs—a member of the museum and two Czech tourists who purchased single-day admissions—MMA does not adequately disclose to plaintiffs that the $25 admission fee, posted at the entrance, is only a recommendation. The suit argues that the museum is deliberately deceiving the approximately 6 million annual visitors into paying the entrance fee.

The suit points to two examples to support its arguments. First, a sign at the entrance of the museum reads “admission” in large, bold type and “recommendation” in much smaller, lighter type. And second, visitors entering the museum are automatically directed into an admission fee line, where cashiers are waiting to collect their $25 entrance fee.

"MMA has misled, and regularly misleads, members of the general public to believe, on all days of the week during times when the MMA is open, that they are required to pay the Admission Fees in order to enter Museum Exhibition Halls," the lawsuit claimed.

A MMA spokesman denied the allegations in an email to Thomson Reuters, saying the museum is “confident that our longstanding pay-what-you-wish admissions policy meets the spirit and letter of our agreement with the city ... and ensures that the Met is fully accessible to and affordable by all."

The suits asks for an injunction and unspecified damages for the three plaintiffs and anyone who visited MMA and paid with a credit card.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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