TICKET Act Proposed by U.S. Senate May Put End to Hidden Ticketing Fees

A new legislation introduced by U.S. Senators, the TICKET (Transparency in Charges for Key Events Ticketing) Act, could bring an end to hidden fees tacked on concerts and sporting events. 

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These hidden fees, which often increase a ticket sale tremendously by as much as half the flat cost of the ticket, are one of the biggest complaints from ticket buyers, and can often deter a purchase.

“When families budget for a night at a ballgame or to hear their favorite band, they shouldn’t have to worry about being surprised by hidden fees that suddenly raise the final cost of tickets well over the advertised price,” said Senator Maria Cantwell, U.S. Commerce Committee Chair, in a statement. “The price they say should be the price you pay. This bill is one part of comprehensive legislation I plan to introduce to rein in deceptive junk fees driving up costs for consumers.”

Most online ticket sellers impose exorbitant service fees, which are not initially disclosed when purchasers are choosing their tickets. Service charges can average more than 20 percent of the ticket face value, and total fees—including processing, delivery, and facility fees—and have reached up to more than half the cost of the ticket itself for sporting events, alone, according to a report by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). The added fees can result in a family of four paying more than $100 in addition to the cost of the tickets.

Overall, studies by the GAO and the New York Attorney General’s office found that these hidden fees can increase total ticket costs anywhere from 21 percent to 58 percent.

The TICKET Act would bring more transparency to the hidden costs, dubbed “junk fees” by President Joe Biden, and require ticket sellers to disclose the total price of a ticket and all the included fees upfront.

The TICKET Act, according to a statement published by Sen. Cantwell, would require all event ticket sellers, including primary and secondary market event sellers to do the following: Display the total ticket price (including all required fees) in any advertisement, marketing, or price list; Disclose to consumers the total ticket price (including all fees), including an itemized list of the base ticket price and each ticket fee, at the beginning of a transaction and prior to selection of the ticket; and Disclose to consumers if a ticket being offered for sale is a speculative ticket where the seller does not have actual or constructive possession of the ticket.

Senator Ted Cruz, who introduced the legislation along with Sen. Cantrell, said the added costs are a “frustration” to consumers. “These unadvertised fees are a nuisance and deter consumers from following through with a purchase,” said Sen. Cruz. “The TICKET Act brings transparency to the whole ticketing industry, which is dominated by a few large players that can capitalize on these hidden fees. I’m proud to introduce with Senator Cantwell this bipartisan, pro-consumer legislation to bring transparency to millions of American fans looking to attend their favorite events.”

Some ticket sellers said making the hidden fees visible should be optional since there’s a risk of losing business if a competitor isn’t showing their fees and is advertising tickets at what may appear to be a lower cost.

“We appreciate the good work of Senators Cantwell and Cruz,” said Live Nation in a statement.

The global entertainment and ticketing agent reported a 45 percent increase in ticket sales from 2019 with $2.2 billion in ticket revenue in 2022.

“This bill is a good starting point,” continued their statement. “We support all-in pricing, but in order to protect fans and artists more can and should be done, including ensuring artists can determine how their tickets can be resold, banning speculative tickets and deceptive websites, and strengthening the BOTS Act [the 2016 Better Online Ticket Sales Act]. These are all common sense reforms supported by a wide array of artists, managers, venues, and countless others involved in live entertainment, and they should be included in whatever reforms Congress considers.”

The full text of the proposed legislation can be read HERE.

Photo by Gettyimages.com

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