Fans win, scalpers lose with ticket buying law changes

Mike Farnworth

BY eliminating ticket bots and mass-buying software, new ticket buying laws will provide more consumer protections and fairer processes for people for when they buy tickets for events, online or at the ticket booth, says the Province.

“These changes are going to make our live-event industry in B.C. even better for the people who matter most – the fans,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, on Tuesday. “The new laws will make the ticket buying process more transparent and equitable for consumers, so that everyone in our province will have a fair chance of getting tickets for their favourite acts and events.”

The ticket sales act would prohibit ticket buying software/bots that unfairly buy large quantities of live event tickets for resale at inflated prices, before people can purchase them at face value. The proposed changes will also regulate how tickets to live cultural, recreational and sporting events are bought and sold in B.C. – something that was previously regulated only by general consumer-protection laws.

“For too long, artists and concert goers were being unfairly hurt by ticket buying software and bots,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “This new ticket buying legislation will ensure that people are protected with better price transparency. Most of all, people will be able to enjoy the diverse performances and entertainment B.C. has to offer, without being unfairly gouged at the box office.”

The ticket sales act, if passed, will require:

* clear and prominent disclosure of prices;

* refund guarantees by secondary sellers and secondary ticketing platform operators;

* disclosure of key terms and conditions by primary and secondary sellers;

* ticket resellers to disclose they are secondary sellers;

* prohibition of the sale of speculative tickets that the seller does not possess or control; and

* the ability for civil action to be taken by consumers or ticket selling businesses if they feel they have suffered losses as the result of a contravention of the legislation.

Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End, said: “British Columbians have been waiting a long time for action against those who game the system to raise ticket prices through the roof. This legislation is going to help fans get a fair shot to buy tickets to their favourite shows, and make sure they don’t have to compete against bots that buy them all when they first go on sale.”

Nick Blasko, Amelia Artists, added: “Buyers deserve some fairness in the modern ticket marketplace and this new legislation is a step towards achieving this. Increased transparency with primary and secondary sellers will, ultimately, allow more fans to attend more concerts, which is positive for our industry.”


Quick Facts

* The act focuses on those who sell tickets as a business, rather than consumer-to-consumer transactions.

* In March 2018, the government launched a consultation to learn what British Columbians thought about the current ticket buying and selling process. More than 6,500 citizens responded.

* The report, Ticket Buying in British Columbia: What We Heard, confirmed that:
– British Columbians said that they felt that ticket sale and resale practices are unfair and need to be addressed.

– Most consumers said that they thought tickets sell out too quickly for events and are generally frustrated with the ticket buying process.