WASHINGTON – After more than a year advocating for consumers’ rights in the secondary ticket sales market, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. today applauded the federal indictment of four men in connection with Wiseguy Tickets Inc., an illegal online ticket scalping operation that used a computerized software programs to snatch the best seats at many concert events before fans had a reasonable chance to buy them at face value. .
“Federal prosecutors were able to shut down a massive illegal ticket scalping operation, and I’m glad that the authorities are focusing on this problem. These unscrupulous tactics used by brokers shut out regular fans from seeing their favorite artists at reason prices,” said Pascrell, who last June introduced the Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing Act, the BOSS ACT. “Fans knew that there was something fishy about tickets for events selling out, and then, minutes, later seats being made available for a sizable mark up. That is why is why my legislation requires all brokers to register with the FTC and prohibits them from purchasing tickets within the first 48 hours of the onsale, giving the real fans the first shot at tickets at their face value. We will only stop seeing ticket scalping scandals like this when the market for tickets is open, honest and accountable, which is why Congress must pass the BOSS ACT as soon as possible.”
The BOSS ACT would bring a basic level of transparency to the ticket industry so that fans have a fair chance to purchase tickets on the primary market. It also seeks to protect consumers who choose to use the secondary market to purchase tickets.
The BOSS ACT would require:
• Ticket sellers to make clear disclosures to consumers regarding the status of tickets listed for sale.
• Secondary market ticket re-sellers must clearly indicate that it is a “resale” marketplace where tickets may be on sale for more than their face value.
The BOSS ACT provides additional consumer protections including:
Requiring primary ticket sellers to:
• make public the number of tickets available for purchase to the public and to disclose the number of tickets withheld from public sale
• disclose all ancillary charges by printing charges and the total ticket price on each ticket
• print the method of distribution, date and time of sale on each ticket
• refund all ancillary charges, in addition to the base ticket cost, when concerts or other events are cancelled.
The BOSS ACT also prohibits primary ticketing companies, artists, promoters and their employees from reselling tickets to any event that their employer is involved in hosting, promoting, performing in, or ticketing for more than face value, or reselling tickets to parties with actual knowledge that they have the intention of reselling for higher than face value.
THE BOSS ACT prohibits registered ticket brokers from purchasing tickets during the first 48 hours of the primary sale.
The BOSS ACT also requires secondary ticket sellers to:
• clearly indicate that tickets are being offered for resale so that consumers are properly informed.
• register with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and provide basic contact information. Each broker will receive a unique identification number.
• disclose the following information when offering a ticket for resale:
The face value of the ticket (including ancillary charges)
The original distribution method or how the seller obtained the ticket.
The precise location of the seat, or if this information is not available, descriptive information about the location (such as row or section)
The broker’s FTC identifier number.
A clear statement whether or not the seller possesses the ticket at the time of the sale.
The BOSS ACT also allows the FTC to enforce any violation of these provisions as unfair or deceptive acts as prescribed by the FTC Act and allows state attorney generals to take civil action on behalf of its residents if there is reason to believe resident have been adversely affected by a violation of the prescribed rules.
Pascrell began to engage the federal government and Congress in the ticket industry following the fiasco surrounding February sales for Bruce Springsteen’s “Working on a Dream” shows at the IZOD Center in the Meadowlands. Suspicions aroused by widespread computer glitches during the sale that redirected consumers to an affiliated secondary market site prompted Pascrell to request and FTC investigation. Given Ticketmaster’s questionable business practices surrounding sales for the Springsteen shows, Pascrell worked with the Judiciary Committee to host a hearing for the purpose of questioning Ticketmaster’s proposed merger with competitor Live Nation.