At last week's AGM, the German promoters' association called for an "public campaign" to educate consumer about resale – followed by possible gov't intervention
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The president has proposed a "Junk Fee Prevention Act" as part of this week's meeting of the White House Competition Council
By James Hanley on 02 Feb 2023
US president Joe Biden is calling for a crackdown on “excessive” ticket fees for concerts and other entertainment events.
Biden proposed a “Junk Fee Prevention Act” as part of a meeting of the White House Competition Council this week, saying hidden or unexpected fees “are not only costly to consumers, but they can stifle competition by encouraging companies to use increasingly sophisticated tools to disguise the true price consumers face”.
According to the New York Times, the president is specifically asking Congress “to prohibit excessive fees, require the fees to be disclosed in the ticket price and mandate disclosure of any ticket holdbacks that diminish available supply”.
“Many online ticket sellers impose massive service fees at check-out that are not disclosed when consumers are choosing their tickets,” says a White House statement. “In a review of 31 different sporting events across five ticket sellers’ websites, service charges averaged more than 20% of the ticket’s face value, and total fees – like processing fees, delivery fees, and facility fees – reached up to more than half the cost of the ticket itself. A family of four attending a show could end up paying far more than $100 in fees above and beyond the cost of the tickets.”
“The president urges Congress to act now to reduce these fees through legislation”
The president’s plea to Congress follows his call for the reduction or elimination of hidden fees, charges and add-ons at a previous meeting last autumn. His latest statement comes just a week after Live Nation president and CFO Joe Berchtold was grilled about the company’s practices by a US Senate antitrust panel following the Ticketmaster-Taylor Swift Eras Tour presale controversy.
During last week’s hearing, LN’s Berchtold expressed the company’s support for transparent ticketing fees. “We should mandate all-in pricing so that fans see the full cost of their tickets from the start,” he said.
“While antitrust enforcement agencies have the authority to investigate and address anti-competitive conduct in the industry, the president urges Congress to act now to reduce these fees through legislation,” adds the White House statement. “Specifically, the president is calling on congress to prohibit excessive fees, require the fees to be disclosed in the ticket price, and mandate disclosure of any ticket holdbacks that diminish available supply.”
“We stand ready to work with the president and Congress on many common sense ticketing reforms”
Ticketmaster has released a new statement, saying it “strongly supports ticketing reforms that will benefit artists and fans, prevent fraud, and clean up fraudulent practices in resale markets”.
“These basic steps should be the things everyone agrees on, including mandating all-in pricing and outlawing speculative ticketing,” add a spokesperson. “We stand ready to work with the president and Congress on many common sense ticketing reforms, while also speaking out against proposed legislation that would benefit scalpers over artists and fans.”
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