Congressmen Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) announced they have submitted updated legislation aimed at reforming the consumer event ticketing industry. Framed as the “BOSS and SWIFT Act,” the bill is an updated version of a package of comprehensive updates to the regulations surrounding ticket sales, designed to improve the experience for consumers.
The legislation is named in honor of Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift, whose fans were impacted by the “recent ticketing fiasco” of her Eras Tour sales process, which is ongoing as the tour rolls across North America this spring. It comes as Swift prepares to take the stage this weekend at MetLife Stadium, located within the boundaries of the 9th Congressional District in New Jersey, represented by Pascrell.
“For too long, millions of American fans have been unable to get a fair shake for their tickets and cry out for relief,” said Pascrell, a longtime critic of Ticketmaster and parent Live Nation. “The recent experience of Taylor Swift fans being locked out of her tour is not new and Swifties are just the latest victims of Ticketmaster’s policies and a broken market. For decades, the ticket market has been the Wild West: mammoth, opaque, speculative, and brutally unfair. A fan shouldn’t have to sell a kidney or mortgage a house to see their favorite performer or team. At long last, it is time to create rules for fair ticketing in this country and my legislation will do exactly that for all the fans.”
According to its authors, the BOSS and SWIFT Act will solve multiple problems inherent to the current ticketing marketplace. It does so, they sway, by forcing greater transparency requirements for both the initial sales process and any subsequent resale of tickets. Specifically, updates proposed in the bill include:
General Market Place Reforms
Requirements on the primary ticket seller, secondary ticket seller, and secondary ticket sales marketplace include:
- Mandatory all-in pricing to ensure the true ticket price is clearly displayed and does not change during check out process.
- Clear disclosures of refund policies and guarantees for consumers to have the choice of a full refund or a replacement ticket in a comparable or upgraded location if a ticket is not delivered.
- Disclosing to buyers whether a ticket is being offered as a primary sale or secondary sale.
Primary Market Place Reforms
- Transparency on the total number and cost of tickets that will be offered for sale to the general public.
- Preserving ticketing transferability so consumers are not restricted from reselling their tickets or facing a price ceiling or floor on ticket resales.
- Ensure fans cannot be sanctioned for reselling a ticket.
Secondary Market Place Reforms
- Clamping down on unauthorized speculative ticket sales.
- Protecting consumers who receive tickets that do not match the description of those purchased.
- Disclosing to purchasers when the secondary seller is the primary ticket seller, venue, team, or artist associated with the event.
- Prohibiting unauthorized insiders from selling tickets at marked up prices
- Restricting resellers from selling the same seat to more than one person at the same time
A full section-by-section breakdown of the BOSS and SWIFT ACT is available here.
Text of the BOSS and SWIFT ACT is here.
Multiple consumer advocates spoke in favor of the proposed legislation, shared via a press release from the office of Rep. Pascrell.
“Buying a ticket to see your favorite artist, sports team, or Broadway show should not be an exercise in frustration,” said John Breyault, National Consumers League Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud. “Unfortunately, the average fan is at the mercy of a rigged system that makes it nearly impossible to get access to affordable tickets for popular events. And even when fans are able to find tickets to buy, hidden fees can more than double the cost to attend the event. The BOSS and SWIFT ACT is the common-sense solution fans need to bring sanity to the live event ticketing industry.”
“For too long, the ticket purchasing experience for consumers has been opaque at best, resulting in a consumer experience that is characterized by hidden or late-disclosed fees and a final price that is a shock,” added Greg Guice, Director of Government Affairs, Public Knowledge. “The BOSS Act seeks to eliminate some of the worst of these abuses by creating greater transparency through disclosures and promoting competition in ticket sales that enables a healthier market for consumers buying tickets.”
The full press release and other support statements are available at Pascrell’s website here.
Pascrell’s BOSS Act battle has involved several attempts at submitting comprehensive ticket reform legislation, first proposed by the New Jersey Congressman in 2009. It was most recently submitted in 2019 in the wake of a Federal Trade Commission workshop critical of the ticketing industry and its practices. Its 2023 edition comes out amid a flurry of calls for reform to ticketing and the process of both initial sale and resale from consumers and politicians alike.
President Biden has pushed for legislation to reform “Junk fees” in ticketing and other industries, requiring price disclosure inclusive of all fees in transparent and up-front fashion, as well as disclosure of “any ticket holdbacks that diminish available supply.” The BOSS and SWIFT Act address both concerns, as well as others like preserving consumer ticket transfer rights vs. monopolization of ticket resale by primary marketplaces, providing clearer language on “speculative” ticket listings, and barring event operators from selling tickets directly through resale platforms rather than offering first sale to consumers at face value.
“Consumers deserve to enjoy their favorite artists and live entertainment without breaking the bank. It’s past time to update the ticket marketplace to ensure it’s fair, transparent, and working for ticket buyers – not Ticketmaster or resellers,” said Congressman Pallone. “That’s why I’m proud to be an original co-sponsor of Rep. Pascrell’s BOSS and SWIFT Act, which will help protect consumers when they buy tickets from ticket sellers and resellers. I thank Rep. Pascrell for his longstanding leadership on this issue that’s so important to New Jerseyans and all Americans.”
Last Updated on May 25, 2023 by Dave Clark
Leave a Reply