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Pascrell Dumps Cold Water on Senate Ticket Reform

Legislation passed in Senate committee is a missed opportunity for real marketplace changes

Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), the longtime champion for fixing the broken live events ticket market and sponsor of the BOSS and SWIFT ACT to rein in ticket abuses, today criticized the ticketing bill taken up in the Senate Commerce Committee.

“In the middle of this heat wave let me throw a bucket of ice-cold water on this ticket bill they considered in a Senate committee,” said Congressman Pascrell. “An already anemic bill further weakened during mark-up today was a missed opportunity to fix the corrupt and broken ticket market. I first proposed legislation mandating all-in ticket pricing 14 years ago and this piece is necessary but frankly less than the bare minimum. We cannot let this bill preempt the chance for real marketplace changes. The reason my BOSS and SWIFT ACT is public enemy number one to Ticketmaster is that it would provide real rules for ticket sales and put the consumer first.”

Congressman Pascrell first offered his legislation back in 2009 when Garden State fans flooded congressional offices with complaints after they tried to buy Springsteen tour tickets and were surreptitiously directed to secondary sites with inflated prices. The updated BOSS and SWIFT ACT forces greater transparency and protections to help consumers from unfair and deceptive acts imposed by ticket sellers. Specific requirements for the BOSS and SWIFT ACT include:

General Market Place Reforms

Requirements on the primary ticket seller, secondary ticket seller, and secondary ticket sales marketplace include:

  • Mandatory all-in pricing to ensure the true ticket price is clearly displayed and does not change during check out process.
  • Clear disclosures of refund policies and guarantees for consumers to have the choice of a full refund or a replacement ticket in a comparable or upgraded location if a ticket is not delivered.
  • Disclosing to buyers whether a ticket is being offered as a primary sale or secondary sale.

Primary Market Place Reforms

  • Transparency on the total number and cost of tickets that will be offered for sale to the general public.
  • Preserving ticketing transferability so consumers are not restricted from reselling their tickets or facing a price ceiling or floor on ticket resales.
  • Ensure fans cannot be sanctioned for reselling a ticket.

Secondary Market Place Reforms

  • Clamping down on unauthorized speculative ticket sales.
  • Protecting consumers who receive tickets that do not match the description of those purchased.
  • Disclosing to purchasers when the secondary seller is the primary ticket seller, venue, team, or artist associated with the event.
  • Prohibiting unauthorized insiders from selling tickets at marked up prices
  • Restricting resellers from selling the same seat to more than one person at the same time.

A full section-by-section breakdown of the BOSS and SWIFT ACT is available here.

Text of the BOSS and SWIFT ACT is here.

Pascrell has been a leader in Congress calling for regulation of the opaque live events ticket market. Pascrell was an early critic of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger, and repeatedly urged the Obama administration to reject it, warning that the union would crush competition and harm consumers. In May 2018, Pascrell wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on his attempts to impose greater positive regulation on the broken live events ticket market.

On March 22, 2022, Rep. Pascrell wrote to the heads of the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division urging them to overhaul federal guidelines to make it easier to overturn bad mergers. As part of the agencies’ joint inquiry into modernizing merger regulations, Pascrell flagged the Live Nation-Ticketmaster as a “posterchild of consolidation gone bad” and urged its dissolution.

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