A consortium of consumer ticket advocacy groups issued a statement Thursday slamming changes to the proposed TICKET Act in the U.S. Senate, after the federal legislation saw key disclosure requirements struck during a procedural “markup” meeting in Washington. The bill, proposed by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), initially contained measures requiring disclosure on ticket prices and fees, plus requirements that sellers listing tickets for sale that they do not yet own – so-called “speculative” tickets – disclose the nature of those listings.
Thursday’s markup session saw the disclosures on speculative tickets removed from the bill, leaving the TICKET Act addressing a single issue – “all-in” pricing vs. “junk fees.”
“We are extremely disappointed that the Commerce Committee today bowed to pressure from industry opponents and missed an opportunity to reduce the risk that fans end up high and dry without ticket to events they had otherwise planed to attend,” reads the statement issued by consumer groups supporting the Ticket Buyer Bill of Rights, which includes both pricing and speculative ticketing transparency among its suggested consumer-friendly regulatory changes for ticketing.
“The TICKET Act, as amended, is a step in the right direction but a reminder of why vested interests continue to resist comprehensive reform,” they continued. “The live event ticketing system needs to be cured of deep flaws that result in consumers being abused before tickets go on sale, while they are for sale, and through the moment they are scanned for entry. The TICKET Act as introduced would have assured transparency to two of the most opaque parts of ticket buying: the pricing of tickets, and the sale of tickets that sellers do not possess, but are offered to unknowing customers. We continue to support all-in pricing of live event tickets because today’s deceptive drip pricing is unfortunately the norm whether the tickets come from a venue, a team, Ticketmaster, or a resale marketplace. Our groups will continue to work for a fairer ticket marketplace to ensure that fans are able to access affordable tickets to their favorite events in an
open, transparent, and competitive marketplace.”
Reportedly, the changes to the bill were driven by an effort to amend the bill by Sen. Ben Rey Lujan (D-NM). Sen. Lujan proposed an amendment that would have banned the practice of speculative ticketing entirely, then withdrew the amendment from consideration after pushback. But due to the process of the amendment having struck the existing provision from the language of the bill, the withdrawal of the amendment left the TICKET Act without the section requiring disclosures of the “speculative” nature of such listings.
The TICKET Act is one of several pieces of federal legislation introduced this year aimed at reforming the consumer ticket-buying experience in America. As currently stands, it would only require disclosure on the full price of tickets inclusive of all fees. The BOSS and SWIFT Act, introduced in the House of Representatives, would tackle multiple areas of concern for consumers, including both “all-in” pricing and speculative ticket disclosures plus ticket transfer rights and other reforms supported by groups including the Ticket Buyer Bill of Rights consortium. There is also the Unlock Ticketing Markets Act, which would ban the practice of long-term exclusive contracts between venues and ticketing agencies like Ticketmaster/Live Nation or AEG/AXS.
Emails requesting comment from the offices of Senators Cruz, Lujan, and Cantwell have not received a response as of Thursday afternoon.
Last Updated on July 27, 2023