CONTRACT / COMPETITION
Live events sector
Much to the dismay of those who are fighting back against ticket touts and scalpers, but in a move billed as “protecting consumers who purchase e-tickets”, the US state of Connecticut has passed legislation that will to prohibit terms that restrict the sale of non-transferable paperless tickets.
Whilst a growing number of major artists, including, prominently, Iron Maiden, now use named electronic tickets which usually require proof of ID to enter the venue to clamp down on the rapidly escalating secondary ticketing industry (which regularly harvests large quantities of tickets before real fans can get their hands on them, forcing them to pay inflated prices to the scalpers), Connecticut House Bill 7114 (HB 7114) has been passed to block these moves and remove restrictions on the sale of entertainment event tickets on the secondary market. The Act has been signed into law by Governor Dan Malloy and outlaws the practice unless “the purchaser of such tickets is offered the option, at the time of initial sale, to purchase the same tickets in another form that is transferrable”. The new legislation also prohibits venues from denying admission “solely on the grounds that such ticket has been resold”.
HB 7114 mirrors a similar piece of legislation in Virginia (HB 1825) which was introduced by local politician Dave Albo after he said was unable to resell his ticket for (ironically) Iron Maiden concert.
“This new state law will give people choices when purchasing tickets,” says Connecticut senator Kevin Witkos, who backed the bill. “It also seeks to prevent against problems when entering a venue if an individual has a ticket that was resold to them” and justifying the new law commented “This is consumer friendly legislation that updates state law to apply to modern technology and practices of purchasing tickets online.”
Gary Adler, Executive Director of the National Association of Tickets Brokers (NATB) whose Protect Ticket Rights campaign is committed to an “open” secondary market free of restrictions on resale, commented:
“This new law will protect consumers from unfair and restrictive practices that companies like Ticketmaster and others in the primary ticket market employ to restrict the purchase, sale and transfer of purchased tickets” adding “These restrictions lead to a market with less choice and higher prices, and we applaud the Connecticut legislature and Governor Malloy for protecting ticket rights” and “This important new law will stop practices like restricted paperless ticketing that harm consumers and the function of a fair and level secondary resale market for tickets. In an open market, if you purchase a ticket, you can do whatever you like with it – including selling it for less or more than you paid – depending on what the market and demand will bear, without onerous strings attached” and “Paperless ticketing is presented as a measure to reduce fraud, but fraud on resale exchanges is not a pervasive problem. While paperless on its own is perfectly fine as a convenience, in practice there are usually restrictions that are designed to prohibit or limit the ability to resell tickets. It is just one example of how large, powerful players in the ticketing system overreach, and this legislation will help to loosen their chokehold and protect consumers.”