Marketplace giant eBay was hit with a major fine and other infringement notices by trading regulators in Australia, according to multiple reports. The company ran afoul of regulators over regulations capping the asking price for tickets being resold in New South Wales, with NSW Fair Trading reportedly finding multiple ticket listings for tickets to the rugby finals in breach of the law.
“To protect consumers, NSW laws require advertisements for the resale of tickets to specify the original cost of the ticket and a resale price that is no more than 10 per cent above the original cost,” says NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Natasha Mann of the action taken, which was announced Friday. “Fair Trading attended the offices of eBay in Sydney and issued a number of penalty notices for tickets being advertised contrary to regulations. NSW Fair Trading is actively monitoring other platforms where Grand Final tickets may be re-sold and will take similar actions where tickets are being sold contrary to NSW laws.”
Under the law in NSW, tickets can only be resold at a value not exceeding ten percent more than the original purchase price. The law has in place the potential for penalties up to $110,000 for corporations and up to $22,000 for individuals. eBay was fined a total of $44,000 for its alleged violations.
eBay told Gizmodo Australia it had removed 48 listings from its marketplace that were found to have too high of an asking price. It also promised it would continue to monitor for other listings in excess of the price cap. A spokesperson expressed disappointment in the regulator’s decision to issue such a hefty fine, as it has a system in place for regulators to easily trigger a listing’s removal, which has been offered to NSW Fair Trading in the past.
“Considering the tools we have available and our willingness to collaborate it is disappointing that NSW Fair Trading has chosen to issue penalties without providing an opportunity to work together in this instance,” the spokesperson said.
“This is not the approach we have experienced in other jurisdictions where we work in partnership with regulators to address ticket scalping.”
eBay was the parent company of ticket resale marketplace giant StubHub for more than a decade before selling that company to Viagogo for more than $4 billion in a transaction that closed in early 2020.