A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday introduced legislation that seeks to address flaws in the current live-event ticketing system in the U.S. and increase protections for customers.
The much-awaited bill, dubbed the Fans First Act, would increase transparency in ticket sales, protect concertgoers from “fake or dramatically overpriced tickets,” and go after those who engage in illegal ticket sale practices.
The act was introduced by Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, and cosponsored by two other Republicans, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and three Democrats: Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Peter Welch of Vermont and Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico.
The bill would require all sellers and resellers to disclose upfront the total cost of the ticket, including fees; indicate the ticket’s seat or section; and divulge “whether or not they are the original seller,” the senators said in a news release.
The legislation would also prohibit the use of bots to purchase tickets online and require sellers and resellers to refund customers the full cost of a ticket in case an event is canceled.
“The current ticketing system is riddled with problems and doesn’t serve the needs of fans, teams, artists, or venues,” Cornyn said in a statement. “This legislation would rebuild trust in the ticketing system by cracking down on bots and others who take advantage of consumers through price gouging and other predatory practices and increase price transparency for ticket purchasers.”
According to the senators, some “bad actors” are often able to purchase several tickets as soon as they go up for sale, only to resell them for a premium value to customers.
The act would also impose civil penalties on resellers “engaging in illegal ticket sale practices,” such as using deceptive websites or selling “speculative” tickets — when resellers sell entrance to an event without actually possessing the ticket for it.
Last year, high demand for tickets to see Taylor Swift led to a much-publicized crash of Ticketmaster.com, exorbitant resale prices for tickets to the singer’s Eras Tour and massive heartaches for Swifties across the country.
“Buying a ticket to see your favorite artist or team is out of reach for too many Americans,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “Bots, hidden fees, and predatory practices are hurting consumers whether they want to catch a home game, an up-and-coming artist or a major headliner like Taylor Swift or Bad Bunny.”
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