A bill under consideration in the Florida legislature regarding consumer rights to tickets they’ve purchased took another positive step this week, advancing through the House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee. The bill, HB 969, requires ticket sales platforms to offer consumers a choice in the format they receive their tickets beyond systems locked to the primary seller’s mobile-only application or other restrictive formats. The bill is similar to SB 1316, which is under consideration in the Florida Senate.
Authored by Rep. Randy Fine (R), HB 969 saw some pushback from legislators when it was reviewed by the subcommittee Wednesday, driven by some who associate legal ticket resale with street scammers and fraud despite the overwhelming acceptance of online ticket resale marketplaces as safe and important for consumers and the market as a whole. Fine responded by pointing out that the bill is aimed at restoring consumer rights in already-existing legal ticket resale framework, curbing practices many view as anti-competitive in terms of limitations put on tickets by primary sellers and event organizers.
“If you want to resell your ticket, if you want to transfer your ticket, should someone be able to say, ‘You can only do it here’? Or should you be able to do it however you want?” Fine said. “I think this bill looks out for the little guy.”
He also pushed back against arguments that the bill, if passed, would remove a tool that artists use to keep resellers from buying up large amounts of ticket inventory with the no intention of using them aside from selling at a profit. “If you as an artist want to say your tickets can’t be resold, that’s fine,” Fine said. “But if you say they can be resold, you can’t say they only can be sold ‘coincidentally’ through the same company that is trying to do all this vertical integration. They either can or they can’t. That would solve the freedom to contract without creating this monopolistic, predatory behavior.”
The law, if passed, would put Florida among several other states that already have legal requirements regarding consumer choice in ticketing platforms. States like New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Utah, and Virginia have already put laws protecting consumer choice on the books. This means that if you purchase a ticket through any primary seller, they are legally obligated to offer you the option of receiving that ticket in a format that is freely transferrable – often in the form of a paper “hard” ticket or a PDF e-ticket that can be shared without going back through the ticketing system to be either scanned off of a mobile device or printed at home.
StubHub’s Laura Dooley was on hand in Florida, lending her support to the bill, similar to her testimony in favor of the senate bill when it was heard in committee earlier in the month.
“The debate is really not about whether [ticket] resale is good or bad. The debate today is about who should control resale. And we share the interests of House Bill 969 to say the customer should be in control of that,” said Dooley, StubHub’s head of government relations.
After its debate, the bill was passed out of the subcommittee by a 15-2 vote. It will now advance to consideration by the Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee.
More information about the bill is available at the Florida Legislature’s website here. If passed, the bill would take effect on July 1, 2022.