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House passes TICKET Act in an effort to increase transparency in pricing

Fans enjoy Taylor Swift’s performance during The Eras Tour at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood Monday, Aug. 7, 2023. 

Allen J. Schaben | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

The House passed the Transparency in Charges for Key Events Ticketing Act on Wednesday in an effort to increase price transparency for consumers.

The TICKET Act would require sellers to list the total cost of a ticket to buyers, including fees. They would also have to disclose whether the ticket they are selling are speculative — meaning not currently in their possession.

The bill would prohibit deceptive websites used by secondary sellers and require sellers to provide refunds if an event is canceled. It now moves on to the Senate.

The act is one of several recent efforts to curb unfair practices in the ticketing industry. There is a related bill in the Senate, also called the TICKET Act, that seeks to give consumers similar protections. A group of bipartisan senators also introduced the Fans First Act in December, which would increase cost transparency and prevent resellers who list tickets at exorbitant prices.

Lawmakers have sought to address consumer discontent toward the ticketing industry in recent years. Fans sued Ticketmaster in 2022 after the company struggled to accommodate the demand for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. The Eras Tour incident led to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine Ticketmaster‘s outsize role in the industry.

The TICKET Act was first introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., in June 2023. It was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where Bilirakis serves as the Innovation, Data and Commerce Subcommittee chair.

Taylor Swift performs onstage during “Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour” at SoFi Stadium on August 03, 2023 in Inglewood, California. 

Emma Mcintyre | TAS23 | Getty Images

Bilirakis, subcommittee ranking member Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and committee ranking member Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., released a joint statement on the passage of the TICKET Act on Wednesday.

“This consensus legislation will end deceptive ticketing practices that frustrate consumers who simply want to enjoy a concert, show, or sporting event by restoring fairness and transparency to the ticket marketplace. After years of bipartisan work, we will now be able to enhance the customer experience of buying event tickets online. We look forward to continuing to work together to urge quick Senate passage so that we can send it to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”

Ticket advocacy groups commended the House for passing the bill and called on the Senate to do the same. There is currently no floor vote in place for the measure.

Dana McLean, executive director for the Coalition for Ticket Fairness (CTF), said the bill “levels the playing field” for those seeking tickets to live events.

“It’ll make the buying process better for fans, they’ll have more information and that’s really what the CTF stands for, transparency and consumer choice,” she said in a phone interview.

Consumer advocates also praised state laws that have been recently passed to further protect ticket buyers from predatory sellers. Last week, Maryland banned the sale of speculative tickets and Minnesota required the disclosure of all fees in ticket prices.

“Not only has the U.S. House of Representatives moved to protect consumers from predatory and deceptive ticketing practices, but states across the country, including Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota and Nevada, have recently banned, without exception, speculative tickets on a bipartisan basis,” Stephen Parker, executive director of the National Independent Venue Association, said in a statement. “We call on Congress to do the same, to build on the TICKET Act and adopt strong, enforceable, comprehensive ticketing reform legislation like the Fans First Act.”

Artists have been lending their support for legislation aimed at making ticket buying more fair for fans. In April, more than 250 artists, including Billie Eilish, Green Day and Lorde, signed a letter of support for the Fans First Act, urging Congress to “combat predatory resellers’ deceptive ticketing practices and the secondary platforms, which also profit from these practices.”

Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said the TICKET Act was a “key focus” of the event.

“The Recording Academy thanks our Congressional leaders for bringing the bill to a vote shortly after meeting with Academy members,” he said in a statement. “We now urge the Senate to act quickly to incorporate the strong provisions contained in the Fans First Act and move a comprehensive ticket reform package that will provide transparency and protect artists and their fans.” 

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