It’s become fashionable for governments to take a stand against ticket-buy-bots, secondary sellers, and scalpers. British Columbia is the latest jurisdiction to take on the fight.
After consulting with the public, the government determined that people were upset at how tickets were sold and resold in the province and that gigs sold out too quickly, leading to plenty of frustration.
Under the new ticket sales act, the following would apply (and I’m quoting here):
- Clear and prominent disclosure of prices;
- Refund guarantees by secondary sellers and secondary ticketing platform operators;
- Disclosure of key terms and conditions by primary and secondary sellers;
- Ticket resellers to disclose they are secondary sellers;
- Prohibition of the sale of speculative tickets that the seller does not possess or control; and
- The ability for civil action to be taken by consumers or ticket selling businesses if they feel they have suffered losses as the result of a contravention of the legislation.
Let’s unpack this.
- No one likes being elbowed out of the way for a hot show by a software program that moves at light speed. However, the last anyone checked, bots can exist outside the borders of British Columbia. Good luck in prosecuting any outside entity buying up tickets for shows in BC.
- It’s ALWAYS hard to get tickets to hot events. It’s a matter of supply and demand. There are only so many seats in which to put bums. Nothing in this proposal deals with seat inventory issues. Nor should it.
- Clear disclosure of prices? Clear identification of secondary sellers? Disclosure of terms and conditions? Seems fair to me.
- On the surface, refund guarantees look good, but that could only cover established secondary sellers. Good luck on getting your money back from some scumball fraudster you found on Craigslist. (You shouldn’t be using them, anyway.)
- And what do they mean by a “money-back guarantee,” anyway? Under what circumstances could you get your money back? Details, please.
- Proving that someone is selling speculative tickets (i.e. tickets that appear to be available for sale before the actual on-sale dates) will annoy the
StubHubsof the world because it will mess with their connections to volume buyers of tickets.
- Speaking of which, how will any of this affect TradeDesk, Ticketmaster’s liaison with mass buyers of tickets? That’s the relationship that was the subject of a CBC/Toronto Star investigation back in September. The Federal Competition Bureau looked at the situation and punted the problem back to the provinces.
- The ability to launch civil action against ripoffs is another feel-good thing. How will this be adjudicated? Will the BC government create an office to handle such matters? Could this not gum up the courts? We’re awfully short on details here.
- There’s nothing here about ensuring that consumers can purchase authentic tickets and not fakes and counterfeits. The future is in authenticating tickets purchased by legitimate buyers.
- What if I buy a ticket for a show that I ultimately can’t use? Can I sell it to a friend without breaking any rules?
We watch with interest.