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Prieto, Johnson & Jimenez Bill to Protect Consumers Against Unfair Ticket Selling Practices Approved by Assembly

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Speaker-elect Vincent Prieto, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson and Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez to protect consumers by restructuring New Jersey’s ticket sale law to bring transparency into the market, enhance consumer protections and protect a consumer’s ability to buy, sell and give away tickets was approved XX-XX Monday by the Assembly.
“We’ve seen too many consumers simply hoping to see their favorite band, comedian or a great show suffer at the hands of unfair box office practices designed to ensure the most profit for ticket retailers,” said Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen). “New Jersey is home to many great showplace facilities that create jobs and economic development for their communities. We should make it as fair and cost-effective as possible for residents to buy tickets and be able to attend and enjoy these facilities.”
The measure (A-2258) stems from incidents of consumer frustration toward ticket sales, including ticketing problems surrounding Bruce Springsteen concerts.
“Anyone who has seen a show sell out minutes after the tickets went on sale only to find tickets available a week later at double the price knows the frustration this bill aims to fix,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “Obtaining legitimate tickets to an event should not be impossible for anyone without means to game the system.”
“This is about fairness,” said Jimenez (D-Hudson/Bergen). “Consumer protection is always a priority, and this is major step in that direction.”
The bill requires ticket issuers to publish on their websites a notice setting forth the following information concerning the sale and disposition of tickets for the entertainment event:
· The total number of tickets issued for the entertainment event, including the number of public sale tickets made available at the general on sale date for the event and the number of tickets held back at the general on sale date of the event;
· The number of public sale tickets made available for the entertainment event at the general on sale date of the event; and
· The number of tickets not made available as public sale tickets for the entertainment event at the general on sale date of the event.
The bill requires the number of tickets disclosed to add up to 100 percent of the seating capacity for the place of entertainment in the configuration used for the entertainment event.
The bill prohibits the use of software or technology that enables the purchase of tickets in excess of limits set by an issuer.
The bill allows the use of paperless tickets, but places some restrictions on how ticket issuers may issue paperless tickets.
The bill prohibits ticket issuers from employing a paperless ticketing system unless the ticket purchaser is given the option to purchase paperless tickets that the ticket purchaser can transfer at any price and at any time without additional fees, independent of the ticket issuer.
Also, ticket issuers may employ a paperless ticketing system that does not allow for independent transferability of the paperless ticket only if the ticket purchaser is offered, at the time of initial sale, the option to purchase the same ticket or tickets in some other form that is transferable, at any time, independent of the ticket issuer, including, but not limited to, paper tickets of paperless tickets.
To meet these requirements, the bill prohibits ticket issuers from offering as the only option available to a ticket purchaser to pick up a ticket at the will-call window or the box office of an entertainment facility, except within four days of the entertainment event for which the ticket is purchased.
This bill will enhance consumer protections by requiring all ticket issuers, resellers and online marketplaces to provide a full refund if:
· An event is cancelled;
· The ticket does not grant entry to the event; or
· The ticket does not match its advertised description.
The bill also prohibits the resale of tickets not in a reseller’s possession or control unless that policy is disclosed in advance, and a full refund is made within 10 days if the reseller is unsuccessful in securing tickets. Since the bill imposes consumer protections on all participants in the secondary market, it also eliminates separate regulation of, and price limitations that are currently imposed specifically on, ticket brokers.
The bill prohibits ticket issuers from:
· Imposing license or contractual terms on the initial sale of event tickets or any policies;
· Requiring the purchaser of a ticket, whether for a single event or for a series or season of events, to agree not to resell the ticket, or to resell the ticket only through a specific channel approved by the ticket issuer; or
· Limiting or restricting the price at which a ticket may be resold.
The bill also restricts the ability of ticket issuers to bring legal suits or impose penalties on consumers for reselling tickets.