THE MODERN-DAY PLAGUE OF ON-LINE TICKET SCALPING
Have you ever been excited for a show or concert and gone online to buy tickets, only to find that they have already sold out? Many of us have felt this disappointment. But have you ever noticed that if you look around at some other websites, tickets to the same show will become available but for a ridiculously inflated price? This is ticket scalping in the modern age, and it is becoming a serious problem.
Earlier this year, tickets to Childish Gambino’s Australian tour went on sale online through Ticketmaster. Thousands of Perth and Melbourne fans were disappointed when they sold out almost instantly. But disappointment turned to outrage when bundles of tickets appeared minutes later on Ticketmaster’s own resale site at a price that was nearly $300.00 more per ticket.
The Sydney Opera House handled the tickets for the NSW leg of the tour. Again, the tickets sold out, and some $130.00 general admission tickets reappeared on Viagogo (another ticket resale site) for a whopping $889.00 each!
What happens is that people and entities will purchase multiple tickets from authorised sellers as soon as they go on sale, and then resell them at ridiculous inflated prices to make a profit. Unfortunately, when the tickets inevitably sell out, fans who missed out will have little choice but to pay up if they want to see the show. These scalpers are clearly in the wrong, but the authorised sellers are doing little to stop them.
As a response to the recent scandals, the South Australian government has produced a bill to amend the Fair Trading Act. If the bill is passed, it will place restrictions on the resale of tickets whether online or otherwise. Anyone, whether a company or person, who resells a ticket for more than 110% of the original purchase price is guilty of an offence punishable by harsh fines: $100,000 for a body corporate, and $20,000 for a natural person.
Further, listing sites (such as Viagogo and Ticketmaster Resale) will be required to take positive action to prevent the listing of prohibited advertisements on their sites, and to remove them when they become aware of such listings. These sites will also face steep penalties if they fail to take action.
This bill could help to prevent scalpers from taking advantage of the Australian public, but the public should be aware that the new rules will also apply to them. Once the bill comes into effect, ordinary people could potentially find themselves in trouble if they re-sell a ticket for more than the allowed amount. If you find yourself with a spare ticket for a show and want to offer it for sale, make sure you are not making an unreasonable profit.