NY Sen. Charles Schumer Wants Law to Control Ticket Scalping

News   NY Sen. Charles Schumer Wants Law to Control Ticket Scalping
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) plans to introduce new legislation that would delay ticket brokers access to concert and sporting events "to improve fans' chances of getting tickets at face price."

The potential law would seek to "crack down on ticket resellers by imposing a two-day waiting period from when tickets go on sale via an authorized sales channel before a ticket reseller can buy those tickets to put on the secondary market."

It was not clear in the April 6 announcement if theatre tickets to Broadway shows or national tours would be affected, but it seems implicit that major hot-selling musicals or plays that now get high mark-ups from ticket resellers might be included. A call to Sen. Schumer's press rep was not returned on April 14. The plan was unveiled April 6.

According to a statement, "Schumer's legislation would help ensure that fans get first crack at good seats at face value prices before ticket-resellers buy up tickets to sell on the secondary market. Schumer's legislation will also require ticket resellers to obtain a federal registration number from the FTC, and post that number in conjunction with all ticket re-sales on brokerage website and through other means."

Schumer announced April 6 that he has discussed his proposed legislation with leaders of the ticket service Ticketmaster, and that Ticketmaster supports his proposal and his reform efforts to "bring more transparency to the resale industry." (Ticketmaster has its own resale ticket service, TicketsNow. Schumer commended Ticketmaster for acting responsibly in early February by announcing a policy to no longer allow the "prelisting of tickets on TicketsNow prior to onsales" and "for working cooperatively with him to enhance consumer protection and make the ticket sale process more transparent to the public.")

Schumer also called on other resale websites to immediately implement similar voluntary measures to bar the prelisting of tickets pending passage and implementation of his legislation. Schumer said that he will meet with the heads of Ticketmaster and other ticket distributors "to discuss a possible code-of-conduct for ticket reselling in New York and across the country."

"Buying concert tickets has become like taking a trip back to the Wild West — anything goes," Schumer said. "When the scalping market destroys initial ticket sales and all tickets sold at face value are hoarded by resellers before New Yorkers have a chance to buy them, any attempt to keep prices down by the sellers and artists is made impossible. The bottom line is we need to create a fair system where fans get first crack at good seats at a reasonable price."

The bill's requirement that ticket resellers obtain a federal registration number from the FTC "will help prevent fraudulent, anonymous sales."

Schumer's bill does not make ticket reselling illegal "because consumers can benefit from a secondary ticket market," according to the announcement. "When ticket buyers need to sell their own tickets, or they want to attend an event and are willing to pay more not to be part of the initial stampede for tickets, ticket reselling is acceptable."

Sen. Schumer wants to pass the bill (it would require the Senate and the House passage and President Barack Obama's signature) before late summer's Major League baseball playoffs.

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