As mentioned in previous posts, ticket bots and ticket resale prices will be addressed today as “a bill to strengthen consumer protection rules around home warranties, ticket sales, real estate practices and travel services in Ontario may become law today.”
The area that has attracted the most attention within the consumer protection bill is the Ticket Sales Act, which will address ticket bots and ticket resale prices. In summary, the Ticket Sales Act would:
- ban scalper bots
- ban tickets from being resold at more than 50 per cent of the face value
- will make it illegal to knowingly resell tickets that were purchased by bots
- sellers will need to display all fees, taxes, service charges
- resellers will need to disclose the face value of the ticket
However, these potentially new ticket selling laws may “lead to unintended consequences”, Ticketmaster and StubHub warn, noting that companies that follow the rules will be put at a disadvantage and that capping resale prices “artificially controls a global market.”
The consequences they believe will be an increase in prices, less protection from fraud, and little improvement with transparency.
Prices & Fraud
StubHub believes that the cap on resale prices will “drive sales off their legitimate websites to elsewhere on the internet where there are no protections against fraud,” as the cap will drive illegal activity.
The government however, believes that the cap “will reduce the incentive for people to buy tickets, with or without the help of bot technology, and then immediately resell them for inflated prices.” Their goal is to keep more tickets available for fans, as the cap will cause scalpers to purchase less, or none at all, especially with the bot ban, which all parties are in favour of.
Enforcement of the bot ban is the number one concern, but with the addition of the new private right of action will help, as it “allows individuals and companies to sue anyone found to be flouting the law.”
Transparency was heavily addressed early on in the bill, with the original stating ticket sellers would be required to disclose the number of tickets available for general sale which would have been able to address the amount of tickets that are considered holdbacks, meaning the tickets that venues, artists, and promoters hold on to for direct marketing campaigns. In the final version this was removed, as Ticketmaster and Music Canada Live lobbied to scrap it.
UPDATE: The legislation has passed at Queen’s Park as of December 13, 2017. The province voted in favour of the bill, with MPPs from the Liberals supporting, while the Progressive Conservatives and the New Democrats opposed it.
By: Nicolas Di Nardo
“This article is intended to inform. Its content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon by readers as such. If you require legal assistance, please see a lawyer. Each case is unique and a lawyer with good training and sound judgment can provide you with advice tailored to your specific situation and needs.”