Washington News Bureau

House to vote on ‘TICKET Act’ to protect against fake event ticket sales

WASHINGTON — Imagine buying a ticket to see your favorite musician or sports team, then finding out the ticket is fake. There’s now a push in Congress to protect people from this problem.

The “Transparency in Charges for Key Events Ticketing Act” or the “TICKET Act” would require the total price of an event ticket to be displayed upfront. It also guarantees refunds for event cancelations and postponements.

The bill also bans the sale of a ticket that the seller doesn’t actually have or own, often known as speculative ticketing.

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The House is scheduled to vote on the measure Tuesday evening.

“This has been an unregulated space for years,” Stephen Parker, Executive Director of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) said. “There are customers and fans who go on websites, they buy tickets. They think that they’re real. They pay for a plane ticket. They pay for a hotel room, and they pay for a car share service to get them to the place where the show’s going on and they get to the gate and their ticket either hasn’t been delivered to them or doesn’t work. That’s a problem. If you don’t own a ticket, you shouldn’t be able to sell it.”

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Parker said consumer groups want to see the “TICKET Act” paired with other protections like the “Fans First Act,” which aims to protect people from dramatically overpriced or fake tickets.

“The TICKET Act is a great step forward but ultimately we hope that the Senate will take this bill and make it even stronger,” Parker said.

This vote comes as unfair practices in the ticketing industry have been a big focus on Capitol Hill and have been the topic of several Congressional hearings.

Lawmakers from both parties have been critical of the dominance of Live Nation, which merged with Ticketmaster.

“We need to make sure we have competition to bring prices down,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said during a January Senate hearing.

“I hope we can make a better experience for the consumer being able to buy tickets,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said during that hearing.

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