Western Australia clamps down on ticket scalpers following UFC event

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The Government of Western Australia has announced that five individuals have become the first to face legal action under new ticket scalping laws, relating to the recent sold-out UFC 284 event in Perth.

On-the-spot fines of A$2,000 (£1,083/€1,233/$1,328) each were issued to the five people that have allegedly breached the new ticket scalping laws, by reselling tickets for more than the permitted 10% mark-up.

The infringement notices relate to the UFC 284 event which took place at Perth’s RAC Arena in February. The action was taken by Consumer Protection’s Compliance and Investigation Unit against two scalpers in Western Australia, two in New South Wales and one in Queensland.

The WA Government reported that the alleged cases ranged from 24-430% more than the original ticket prices. One case saw a WA woman sell tickets with an original sale price of A$1,073 for $4,800 on an online marketplace.

Further reports of ticket reselling violations surrounding the UFC event are also being investigated by the regulator, with subsequent infringement notices expected to be issued.

Should any cases go before the courts, individuals could face fines of up to A$20,000 if found guilty.

These laws around ticket scalping came into effect in September 2021 but only warnings have been issued up until this point.

Commerce Minister Sue Ellery said: “The massive mark-ups we have seen in some of these alleged cases are not just illegal – they’re immoral, as scalpers clearly seek to exploit WA consumers who are desperate to attend popular events that are sold out.

“Following the introduction of the anti-ticket scalping laws, only warnings were issued as part of an educational transition period to increase awareness of their new obligations.

“The grace period has now come to an end and action will be taken against individuals and companies who flout the law by exceeding the 10% mark-up permitted. Individuals who try to make a quick buck by reselling tickets at illegally high prices are at risk of losing that profit and more by paying an infringement notice, or receiving higher penalties if they face court.”

Ellery added: “Online buying and selling platforms that fail to have a system in place to quickly detect and delete these illegal ads also risk prosecution, as they are equally responsible under the anti-ticket scalping legislation.”