Consumer groups welcome Senate launch of BOSS, SWIFT Acts

PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Photo by Joshua Peacock on Unsplash

PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Photo by Joshua Peacock on Unsplash

Consumer groups have welcomed the introduction of the BOSS and SWIFT Acts in the US Senate.

The legislation, which seeks to overhaul ticketing regulations across the US, has been proposed in tandem with House bills bearing the same name introduced in Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr and Frank Pallone, Jr.

Senators Richard Blumenthal, Mazie Hirono, and Edward J. Markey are leading the two bills’ progress in the Senate.

A statement issued by Sen Blumenthal said new rules would bring give concertgoers and sports fans transparency about the marketing, distribution, and pricing of tickets.

The legislation would require sellers to disclose the total cost of tickets up front and prevent sellers from changing the total cost of a ticket during the purchase process. It is backed by groups including the National Consumers League, Sports Fan Coalition, Consumer Action and Consumer Federation of America.

“This measure will be a major step toward stopping all the hidden fees and exorbitant prices that have plagued concertgoers for far too long,” said Blumenthal. “Ticket buyers now face sky-high junk charges or shut outs by scalpers and secondary sellers. These standards bring fairness and transparency to fans, artists, and venues who power this industry.”

The legislation would also give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general enforcement authority, and allow consumers to seek private rights of action for damages and harms caused by those who violate the standards.

Named in honour of Bruce ‘The Boss’ Springsteen and Taylor Swift, the bills are known in full as The Better Oversight of Stub Sales, and Strengthening Well Informed and Fair Transactions for Audiences of Concert Ticketing Act. Fans of both artists have faced difficulties in obtaining concert tickets over the last year.

Rigged system

The National Consumers League (NCL) welcomed the advancement of the two bills in the Senate.

John Breyault, NCL vice-president of public policy, telecommunications, and fraud, said: “Buying a ticket to see your favourite artist, sports team, or Broadway show should not be an exercise in frustration.

“Unfortunately, the average fan is at the mercy of a rigged system that makes it nearly impossible to get access to affordable tickets for popular events. And even when fans are able to find tickets to buy, hidden fees can more than double the cost to attend the event. The BOSS and SWIFT ACT is the common-sense solution fans need to bring sanity to the live event ticketing industry.”

Brian Hess, executive director of Sports Fans Coalition, said: “Sports fans across the country have been crying out for reforms. The BOSS and SWIFT Act is the most holistic proposal we’ve seen introduced and we commend Senator Blumenthal for tackling this difficult subject in such a thoughtful and pro-consumer manner.

“The BOSS and SWIFT Act is the best representation of the Ticket Buyer Bill of Rights that we’ve seen, and will ensure strong consumer protections while protecting a competitive marketplace. The introduction of the BOSS and SWIFT Act in the Senate makes this bill the only bicameral comprehensive live event ticketing reform proposal in Congress.”

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