Consumer rights organizations have come out in favor of a bill under consideration in New York that would drastically alter the ticketing ecosystem in the state. The bill, introduced last week by Sen. James Skoufis, seeks to make a number of changes to existing laws regarding event ticket sales, which consumer rights advocates say would be a boon to those attending events in the state.
“The common-sense consumer protections provided through this legislation are long overdue,” says Consumer Reports’ Programs Director for Advocacy Chuck Bell. “As New York reopens its entertainment venues and stadiums in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to ensure that consumers get fair value for their money, and can have confidence in the honesty and integrity of the businesses they patronize. Consumer Reports, along with our partners at the National Consumers League, urge the passage of this bill.”
Built after a long investigation into the practices of live event ticket sales, Sen. Skoufis’ bill adds a number of consumer rights regarding ticket ownership after purchase. It also seeks to curb increasingly monopolistic behavior regarding primary ticketing operations that have been shown to harm consumers. Among the provisions that the bill brings to the forefront are a cap on ticket ‘holdbacks’ by venue and promoter interests, updates to New York’s ticket resale licensure rules, updates to refund requirements when events are cancelled and postponed, and a bounty program for those who report the use of illegal ‘bot’ programs. Uniquely, it also eliminates the ability of primary ticket operators to ‘double-dip’ by charging fees as both the primary marketplace and a resale marketplace if tickets are sold twice by the same system.
“This is a common sense consumer protection bill that should serve as a model for fan-friendly legislation across the country,” John Breyault, Vice President of the National Consumers League, told TicketNews. “It addresses concerns that advocates like NCL have raised for years about a live event industry that is too often rigged against fans.”
“The Ticketmasters of the world want to perpetuate a system that allows them to continue fleecing hardworking New Yorkers,” said Sen. James Skoufis. “As we continue to reopen and rebuild our status as the entertainment capital of the country, New York has a rare opportunity to ensure our state leads the nation in accessible, fan-friendly live event experiences that position ourselves for an unconditional comeback. Now is the time to take up long overdue reforms and put an end to the outright thievery that consumers face on a daily basis.”
New York’s legislative session is in session five more days in May and then seven days in early June, so TicketNews will keep an eye out for whether or not this bill continues to gather momentum against what will surely be a heavy lobby from Live Nation and other industry insiders who would see their business models challenged by these reforms.