Representatives say the legislation will bring "needed transparency and regulation to the badly corrupted live events ticket marketplace"
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The legislation aims to protect fans from "unfair and deceptive practices" in the primary and secondary ticketing markets
By James Hanley on 28 Sep 2023
Legislation aimed at protecting fans from “unfair and deceptive practices” in the ticketing market has been introduced in the US Senate.
Named after Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift in the wake of 2022’s string of ticketing controversies, the BOSS and SWIFT Act would require sellers to be transparent about base prices, added fees, distribution of tickets, and refund policies.
“This measure will be a major step toward stopping all the hidden fees and exorbitant prices that have plagued concertgoers for far too long,” says Blumenthal. “Ticket buyers now face sky-high junk charges or shut outs by scalpers and secondary sellers. These standards bring fairness and transparency to fans, artists, and venues who power this industry.”
The legislation was previously introduced by New Jersey congressman Bill Pascrell and Frank Pallone to provide “needed transparency and regulation to the badly corrupted live events ticket marketplace”. If the regulation is passed, sellers will be required to disclose the total cost of tickets upfront, including all fees and charges, and prevented from changing the total cost of a ticket during the purchase process without alerting the buyer.
In addition, they must clearly disclose their refund policies, along with the total number and cost of tickets that will be offered at least seven days before they go on sale.
“By requiring ticket sellers to act with transparency, this legislation will protect consumers”
“For too long, ticket sellers have employed deceptive fees and practices to maximise profits at consumers’ expense,” says Hirono. “It’s time to crack down on this anti-hero behaviour, which is exactly what the BOSS and SWIFT Act will do. By requiring ticket sellers to act with transparency, this legislation will protect consumers, helping them enjoy the best day at their favourite concerts, games, and performances.”
The BOSS and SWIFT Act would also give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general enforcement authority, and allow consumers to seek private rights of action for damages caused by those who violate the standards.
“Concert-goers know the story all too well – for decades, tickets have continued to skyrocket at the hands of greedy corporations,” says Markey. “The BOSS and SWIFT Act will make sure that music fans, including Swifties, can access tickets at affordable prices– all while holding corporations accountable for pinching their pockets. I thank Senator Blumenthal for making sure that Ticketmaster and the rest of the ticket industry have stopped fans from seeing their favourite artists for the last time.”
The move has been welcomed by consumer and live event fan advocates.
“The time is long overdue to bring transparency, fairness and competition back to the live event ticketing marketplace,” says Erin Witte, director of consumer protection at Consumer Federation of America. “The BOSS and SWIFT Act will level the playing field for consumers and ensure that they can enjoy these events without being deceived and overcharged in the purchase process.”
“The BOSS and SWIFT Act will crack open the ticket buying market, ensuring that consumers know the total cost of tickets – fees and all – for concerts and sporting events, and what their rights are to a refund,” adds Ruth Susswein, Consumer Action’s director of consumer protection.
The furore around last year’s presale for Taylor Swift’s US stadium tour sparked a flood of calls for fresh legislation around the world and prompted a Senate antitrust hearing, while many Springsteen fans reacted with uproar after individual tickets for the E Street Band’s 2023 tour reached more than $5,000 via Ticketmaster’s “dynamic” market-based pricing.
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