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Ticketing transparency bill reintroduced in US

Three US representatives have reintroduced the ticketing transparency legislation, known as the BOSS Act, following last week’s Federal Trade Commission workshop on the industry.

The federal BOSS (Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing) Act, first introduced in 2009, aims to provide “transparency and regulation to the badly corrupted primary and second live events ticket marketplace”.

It was originally introduced after ticket holdback controversy during Bruce Springsteen’s Working on a Dream tour 10 years ago. It was later reintroduced in 2016 but did not gain enough support to pass it into law.

The BOSS Act is the sister bill to the Better Online Ticket Sales Act (BOTS), which bans the use of automated software to harvest live event passes across the US.

Rep. Bill Pascrell, who reintroduced the bill along with support from Frank Pallone, Jr., the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (pictured), likened the ticketing industry to the “Wild West”.

He said: “Even though it’s 2019, the $9bn live events ticket market resembles the Wild West: bereft of regulation and order, with bad actors around too many corners making a living by ripping people off.

“The BOSS Act would finally impose hard regulation and transparency to the ticket market so that fans can find affordable tickets and enjoy some live entertainment in these uneasy times without fear of being taken to the cleaners. American have been gouged and gouged and then gouged some more.

“Ticket buyers don’t know how many tickets are going on sale or how many are being held back, can’t see what fees will be tacked on, and sometimes don’t even know if the tickets they are purchasing exist yet. For too long on these issues, our government has failed to hear the ghost of Tom Joad, the common man and woman. It’s high time government stands up for him and for them. My legislation is for the fans, not Ticketmaster.”

The legislation’s primary market provisions include requirements for all-in pricing with fees listed up front, as well as transparency in holdbacks, among others.

For the secondary marketplace, the BOSS Act will ensure transparency in speculative ticket sales, disclosure of seller details, and up front pricing among others.

Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League, said: “Anyone who has tried to buy a ticket recently knows that the ticketing marketplace is rigged against us. Fans are forced to navigate a maze of hidden fees, rampant ticket holdbacks that create artificial ‘sell-outs,’ and illegal ticket-buying bots that cut in line to hoard the best seats before fans even have a chance to buy them.

“Congressman Pascrell’s BOSS ACT is the fix the broken ticket market needs. The bill will bring much-needed transparency to an opaque ticket-buying process and put consumers in control of their tickets. NCL applauds Congressman Pascrell’s leadership on this issue and looks forward to seeing this critical consumer protection measure signed into law.”

Image: National Transportation Safety Board