While New York’s ticket resale law expired on May 15, state legislators were continuing to hash out new language on separate Assembly and Senate bills this week, and it will likely be next week at the earliest before the matter is resolved.
Multiple bills are floating around the two legislative bodies that would extend the expired law for a week, a month or a year, but the Senate and Assembly have not reconciled the bills and both bodies are adjourning for the rest of the week and will not return until Monday, May 24. The shorter extensions would allow the legislators and Gov. David Paterson’s office to keep negotiating over specific language that Paterson and others want to include that would protect consumers.
The expired bill – signed into law in 2007 by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer – allowed anyone to resell an event ticket for any amount, and it prohibited teams from punishing fans who resold their season tickets through channels other than the team itself.
Prior to 2007, ticket resale was prohibited for any amount above $2 over face value. Besides the secondary ticket market, the old restrictions also affected the primary ticket market because convenience and other fees charged on top of the face value of the ticket are technically not allowed. Legislators have said the old law will not be enforced while the new one is being hammered out.
“Specifically, the bill would make it illegal for venues and ticketing companies to prohibit ticket holders from transferring tickets on their own,” Gov. Paterson said in a statement about the bill he hopes is the framework with the year-long extension. “In many cases, these entities require that ticket holders charge minimum prices and pay substantial service charges just to get rid of tickets that they can no longer use. This important consumer protection will ensure that consumers can give tickets as gifts, and transfer or sell tickets that they cannot use to other people without having to go through the entity from which they originally purchased the tickets.”
He added, “The bill also includes a provision that would prohibit any person or company from using automated software in order to purchase more tickets than a venue’s policy allows. This will provide New York’s regulators with a tool to crack down on a speculative practice that deprives fans of tickets at face value.”
Paterson did not mention the issue of paperless ticketing, which had been one of the sticking points in the negotiations. He wanted fans to have the option of choosing paperless tickets at checkout, while Ticketmaster, the chief proponent of the technology, balked at the proposal. Whether the issue will be included in the final bill is unknown.