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Pascrell Unveils "BOSS ACT" to Make Ticket Sales Transparent; Reform Secondary Ticket Market

Outraged by how an utter lack of transparency in the ticket industry has limited fans from being able to enjoy their favorite entertainers and events, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today introduced the Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing Act, more simply known as the BOSS ACT.

“The BOSS ACT is designed to give regular fans a fair chance to purchase reasonably priced tickets for their favorite performances and events,” stated Pascrell.  “I’m tired of the little guy being squeezed out of stadiums so that corporate giants can make a few extra bucks.  The BOSS ACT is a comprehensive measure with the potential to overhaul an industry that has gone unchecked for far too long.”    

The BOSS ACT would bring a basic level of transparency to the ticket industry so that fans have a fair chance to purchase tickets on the primary market.  It also seeks to protect consumers who choose to use the secondary market to purchase tickets.  

Primary Ticket Market Provisions:

1. Requires basic disclosures as listed below:

• Requires the primary ticket seller to make public the number of tickets available for purchase to the public and to disclose the number of tickets withheld from public sale
• Requires the primary ticket seller to disclose all ancillary charges by printing charges and the total ticket price on each ticket
• Requires primary ticket seller to print the method of distribution, date and time of sale on each ticket

2. Prohibits registered ticket brokers from purchasing tickets during the first 48 hours of the primary sale

3.  Requires the primary seller to refund all ancillary charges, in addition to the base ticket cost, when concerts or other events are cancelled.

Secondary Ticket Market Provisions:
1. Required secondary ticket seller to register with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and provide basic contact information.  Each broker will receive a unique identification number.
2. Requires secondary ticket sellers to disclose the following information when offering a ticket for resale:

• The face value of the ticket (including ancillary charges)
• The original distribution method or how the seller obtained the ticket.
• The precise location of the seat, or if this information is not available, descriptive information about the location (such as row or section)
• The broker’s FTC identifier number.
• A clear statement whether or not the seller possesses the ticket at the time of the sale.

3. Requires secondary sales website to clearly indicate that tickets are being offered for resale so that consumers are properly informed.

4. Prohibits primary ticketing companies, artists, promoters and their employees from reselling tickets to any event that their employer is involved in hosting, promoting, performing in, or ticketing for more than face value, or reselling tickets to parties with actual knowledge that they have the intention of reselling for higher than face value

The BOSS ACT also allows the FTC to enforce any violation of these provisions as unfair or deceptive acts as prescribed by the FTC Act and allows state attorney generals to take civil action on behalf of its residents if there is reason to believe resident have been adversely affected by a violation of the prescribed rules. 

Pascrell began to engage the federal government and Congress in the ticket industry following the fiasco surrounding February sales for Bruce Springsteen’s “Working on a Dream” shows at the IZOD Center in the Meadowlands.  Suspicions aroused by widespread computer glitches during the sale that redirected consumers to an affiliated secondary market site prompted Pascrell to request and FTC investigation.  Given Ticketmaster’s questionable business practices surrounding sales for the Springsteen shows, Pascrell worked with the Judiciary Committee to host a hearing for the purpose of questioning Ticketmaster’s proposed merger with competitor Live Nation.           


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