Tough new ticket scalping reforms will help stamp out dodgy price gouging practices in the live entertainment industry, NSW Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean announced today.

The proposed reforms would put consumers first and stop tickets from being swept up and resold at grossly inflated prices on the secondary market.

Mr Kean said the proposed Amendments to the Fair Trading Act 1987 would also include:

•         In an Australian first, outlawing the use of “bots” – security manipulation software that allows ticket scalpers to buy tickets in unauthorised high quantities;

•         Cracking down on advertising, or hosting advertisements, for tickets that breach the new resale laws; and,

•         Fostering greater transparency in the primary market by giving the Minister the power to require event organisers to publicly disclose the number of tickets available for sale to major NSW events.

“The reforms also aim make it clear that tickets resold within the new laws should not be cancelled by event organisers or venues simply because the ticket has been acquired in the secondary market,” he said.

A Bill is being prepared to put before Parliament as part of a suite of ‘Consumers First’ reforms by the state government.

CHOICE has welcomed the decision to reform the ticketing industry and has called for ticketing companies to do more to protect fans.

The reforms come following the consumer group’s international study of the ticket resale market that found fans are fed up with a market that uses unfair sales tactics to deliberately confuse, overcharge and hit them with sneaky fees.

“The resale industry is in utter shambles and these reforms are the first step to cleaning up the market for NSW consumers,” says CHOICE head of media, Tom Godfrey.

 “While the government is making a serious effort to stop fans getting ripped off, one of the world’s dodgiest resellers Viagogo may remain untouched because it’s based overseas.”

 “The primary ticketing market needs to step up and invest in innovations to reduce fraud within the industry,” Mr Godfrey says.

CHOICE is also urging promoters, venues and ticketing companies to specify the number of tickets available for pre-sale and general sale, the number of events scheduled for a tour, and the number of seats in a venue.

It’s vital that the secondary market gives consumers as much information as possible so they can make an informed purchase, including row and section number, and any restrictions on the ticket.

“Consumers will continue to be saddled with back row seats for front row prices if they aren’t able to find out exactly what they’re buying, and that’s why CHOICE is calling on the primary ticketing companies to be more transparent.”

“While the Government’s reforms go to lengths to protect consumers, CHOICE is still concerned venues and ticketing companies have the power to cancel resold tickets.”

“Over 75% of the case studies who contacted CHOICE did not even know they were purchasing a resold ticket. They’ve bought their ticket in good faith with their hard earned cash.” 

“Cancelling these tickets at the gate would punish consumers, leaving them hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars out of pocket – while the ticketing companies and resale websites cash in,” says Mr Godfrey.

The NSW Government reforms also come just days after CHOICE bestowed a Shonky Award on the Swiss based ticket resale site Viagogo for its dodgy practices that tick off consumers. 

Media Inquiries

Tom Godfrey, Head of Media and Spokesperson, 0430 172 669, @choice_news

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