The Australian government has begun surveying its citizens as part of its ongoing investigation of ticket scalping in the country. Officials plan to use the results to determine the effect of the secondary market on the ticket industry and how to retool Australia’s current resale laws.
Reselling laws vary from state to state in Australia. In New South Wales and Queensland, for instance, it is illegal to resell tickets on certain event sites.
News of the survey comes after the Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council in May issued a report on ticket scalping. The report, “Ticket Scalping: Ticket Onselling and Consumers,” laid out the major issues of concern to the government. These issues included whether reselling is harmful to consumers, the effectiveness of current laws on ticket reselling, and whether or not reselling can be curbed by non-regulatory methods (paperless ticketing, for example).
The government also called for citizens to comment publicly on reselling practices in Australia. Public comment ends July 23, after which they will be submitted to Australia’s Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs for consideration. Any potential changes to resale laws will be considered then.
The survey asks consumers why they made a purchase from a scalper, how often they’ve purchased from scalpers, and any problems they may have had with their resold tickets (e.g., the ticket was fake or cancelled). Consumers are also asked if they have ever resold a ticket and if so, why.
Australia has long been unsure of how to deal with the resale market. New calls to examine the practice were set off in mid-May after tickets to Metallica’s World Magnetic tour sold out in a matter of minutes. Weeks later, tickets were available on eBay Australia for more than three-times the face value (they’re now going for $1,500 for a set of four). The same thing has happened in the past with concerts for Kings of Leon, Beyoncè, and Pink.
The government’s report was not entirely critical of the resale market. One argument for a secondary market is that it sets the right market price, especially when tickets are often sold too cheaply in an effort to create sell-outs and fan bases.
The report also says that in 2006-07, box office sales in Australia reached $356 million.