Scalper bots, which allow ticket resellers to scoop up tickets for concerts and sporting events and jack up the prices, will be banned under a new law proposed by the B.C. government today.
The Ticket Sales Act, if passed, will require ticket sellers to be clear about prices and their terms and conditions, force secondary sellers to offer refunds, require ticket resellers to disclose the face value of the ticket and any added fees and prevent scalpers from selling “speculative tickets” before they have them.
Consumers or ticket selling businesses will also be able to sue if they’ve suffered losses as a result of actions that violate the new legislation.
However, the government will not impose a price cap on resold tickets, measures that were implemented in Manitoba. In a public survey commissioned last year by the government, 83 per cent showed support for setting a price cap on resold tickets.
More than 97 per cent of respondents said the government should ban the use of scalper bots, which use algorithms to bypass limits on the number of tickets one person can buy online.
“These changes are going to make our live-event industry in B.C. even better for the people who matter most — the fans,” said Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth. “The new laws will make the ticket buying process more transparent and equitable for consumers, so that everyone in our province will have a fair chance of getting tickets for their favourite acts and events.”
The proposed law would regulate how tickets to live events are bought and sold in B.C., an area that was previously only regulated by general consumer protection laws.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare said people should be able to enjoy performances and entertainment without being unfairly gouged at the box office.
“For too long, artists and concert goers were being unfairly hurt by ticket buying software and bots,” Beare said. “This new ticket buying legislation will ensure that people are protected with better price transparency.”
Public frustration with ticket scalpers reached a boiling point in 2016 when Tragically Hip fans were shut out of tickets to see frontman Gord Downie’s farewell tour, before his death from brain cancer.
In Ontario, anti-scalping legislation that took effect Jan. 1 bans ticket-buying bots. However, Premier Doug Ford put the brakes on a key part of the Ticket Sales Act, which would have banned the resale of tickets that are marked up more than 50 per cent above face value.
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