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New York adopts new ticket resale legislation

The announcement follows on from an investigation by New York's attorney general into the use of ticket bots over two years ago

By Molly Long on 21 Jun 2018

Carl E Heastie

Assembly speaker Carl E Heastie

image © New York State Assembly

New York’s state assembly has passed a bill to protect consumers from what they have labelled ‘exploitative ticket reselling practices’. In an effort to promote transparent and fair ticket buying experiences for the public, several measures will be adopted, including a UK-style disclosure requirement for all secondary ticketing websites.

The legislation will address the ongoing practice of selling ‘speculative tickets‘ to consumers. Resellers often anticipate and sell tickets they have yet to actually acquire, on the basis that they will have access to them in the future. The practice has been condemned for confusing consumers and forcing primary ticket sellers to compete against secondary outlets. New changes will force resellers to disclose whether or not they have the ticket at the time of purchase and refund customers if they cannot deliver.

“These deceptive practices have become common practice and deny people access to live concerts and events. Everyone deserves a fair shot at fairly priced tickets,” says assembly speaker Carl Heastie.

The new bill follows in the footsteps of the UK market by also requiring websites to disclose their status as secondary ticketers. Since January 2018, stringent restrictions have been put in place for UK-based ticket resellers using Google AdWords.

“Everyone deserves a fair shot at fairly priced tickets.”

New York-based resellers will need to post a ‘clear and conspicuous’ notice stating they are a reseller and pointing out any fees and surcharges associated with tickets. There will also be a ban on misleading URLs which might trick consumers into thinking they are dealing with a primary seller.

There will also be a crack down on bot technology. New York has been at the forefront of the fight against touts using bots and since June 2016 the practice has been a criminal offence. Under new laws, any ticket seller that uses, controls or even owns ticket purchasing software could lose their licence and be banned from reselling for up to three years. The decision follows an investigation into ticket market malpractice by New York’s attorney general in 2016.

The adoption of these strict policies hopes to put an end to consumer exploitation. Around the world, governments are beginning to legislate against touts and resellers in an attempt to curb the power they have over fans and the wider industry. Governments like those in New South Wales and Hong Kong have both recently cracked down on secondary ticketing, with mixed reactions from resellers themselves. In response to tougher restrictions in the UK, ‘responsible’ touts formed the Fair Ticketing Alliance.


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