The U.S. House of Representatives Passes the TICKET Act to Force Price Transparency at Events - Latest Global News

The U.S. House of Representatives Passes the TICKET Act to Force Price Transparency at Events

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that could provide at least some accountability to Ticketmaster and other live event providers. NBC News According to reports, the TICKET Act (not to be confused with the separate Senate bill with the same strict acronym) would require ticket sellers to list the total cost of admission — including all fees — to buyers in advance.

In addition to the full price breakdown, the bill would require sellers to disclose whether the tickets are currently in their possession. It would also ban fraudulent second-party websites and force sellers to refund tickets for canceled events. The bill does not appear to address price gouging or extravagant fees.

It now goes to the Senate, which is presenting two separate event reform bills: the other TICKET Act and a bipartisan “Fans First Act.” The latter was introduced in December to strengthen the 2016 BOTS Act, which bans the use of bots to buy tickets, a practice confirmed by Taylor Swift fans (among others) and still all too common.

Ticket industry reform became a political point issue in late 2022 following the Taylor Swift fiasco at Ticketmaster. The Live Nation-owned service, which has a stronghold in the industry, failed as millions of fans battled “a frightening number” of bots. According to Ticketmaster, the presale codes reached 1.5 million fans, but 14 million (including those pesky bots) attempted to purchase tickets.

Live Nation President and CFO Joe Berchtold testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2023, where he largely left the responsibility to Congress to fix the mess. He suggested the government strengthen the BOTS law, which one of the Senate bills would seek to do. During the hearing, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) criticized the executive for dodging blame and accused the company of pointing fingers at everyone but itself.

Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) issued a joint statement on the House TICKET Act on Wednesday. “This consensus legislation will end fraudulent ticketing practices that frustrate consumers who simply want to enjoy a concert, show or sporting event by restoring fairness and transparency to the ticket market,” the group wrote. “After years of cross-party work, we can now improve the customer experience when purchasing event tickets online. We look forward to continuing to work together to push for quick passage in the Senate so we can send it to the President’s desk for his signature into law.”

Artists publicly supporting legislation to address the ticket industry’s failures include (among others) Billie Eilish, Lorde, Green Day, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz and Dave Matthews. “We collectively say that the current system is broken: predatory resellers and secondary platforms engage in deceptive ticket sales practices to inflate ticket prices and deny fans the opportunity to see their favorite artists at a fair price,” it said read in a joint letter from over 250 musicians.

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