Bought a ticket to a show in Virginia but can’t attend? The reseller market is now wide open for you. And scalpers.
A bill was passed by the state’s legislature this week eliminating restrictions on how, when and where tickets to concerts or sporting events can be resold, a move that directly opposes efforts to protect fans.
Del. Dave Albo, a Republican lawmaker and lawyer in Northern Virginia, introduced the bill, the Ticket Resale Rights Act, eliminating restrictions on reselling tickets. He told the Virginia House of Delegates in January about his ultimately failed efforts to resell a pair of $200 tickets he purchased to an Iron Maiden show that conflicted with a family vacation. Albo said he believed the tickets he purchased were his property to do with as he saw fit; he was unaware of language on Ticketmaster’s website explaining certain tickets could only be resold through the distributor’s reseller marketplace or transferred to another patron if the event sold out.
At the time, Albo spoke about what he felt were restrictive and unfair practices while representatives from Ticketmaster, Live Nation and other primary sellers and venue owners explained that the restrictions placed on tickets like those Albo purchased do not apply to all tickets sold to all concerts in all venues. Instead, these are restrictions applied to some of the best seats in the house at the request of the artist as a way to ensure fans who really, truly want to be in the front row have access to the tickets, instead of scalpers who will charge well above face value for the same seats or, if they can’t sell them, will waste the opportunity.
The bill in Virginia now goes to the desk of Gov. Terry McAuliffe who has said he supports Albo’s efforts.
On the one hand, once a person buys a ticket for a show he or she really wants to attend, sometimes life happens and the ticket can’t be used. It makes sense that the owner of the ticket should be able to sell it to someone else who wants to go. And in 99.9% of situations, that person is free and clear to resell the ticket to anyone using any platform, including giving it away to a friend, because identification is not required to prove the purchaser and the ticket holder are the same person.
On the other hand, efforts to restrict the use of bots and shady practices from resellers are nearly insurmountable and we all know that concertgoers are getting screwed over left, right and center. Taking away one of the few enforceable restrictions on reselling tickets, at least in one state, is a slippery slope that could hurt fans in other states. If we’re talking about a particular set of parameters that relate to, as Ticketmaster reps said during the bill’s debate in Richmond in January, “one-tenth of one percent” of seats, wouldn’t it be easier for those people to either read the restrictions before they buy the tickets (and maybe, y’know, check the family calendar so you don’t have to whine about your wife ruining your fun like a child) or contact the seller directly to see what options are available for resale?