B.C. government preps legislation on ticket scalpers and bots

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B.C. will introduce legislation this fall to crack down on scalpers and bots that snatch up tickets to live events and gouge customers by reselling them for exorbitant prices, says the province’s solicitor general.

Rob Shaw

Published on: March 6, 2018

VICTORIA – B.C. will introduce legislation this fall to crack down on scalpers and bots that snatch up tickets to live events and gouge customers by reselling them for exorbitant prices, says the province’s solicitor general.

Mike Farnworth said Tuesday the goal of the law “will deal with the issue of the ability of British Columbians to access tickets and what they see as the unfair way that scalpers get the tickets, bots get the tickets, it seems like anybody other than an ordinary British Columbian gets the tickets.”

Before then, the government will conduct a three-week public consultation designed to get input from frustrated customers, as well as the ticket-selling industry.

“They will have ideas, the industry will have ideas, there’s a whole range of other issues besides bots,” said Farnworth.

 

“For example in a 50,000 seat arena people think there are 50,000 tickets. When you start to take out things such as tickets being held back by the promoter, tickets that are held back by fan clubs for example that reduces the number of tickets and there are issues there for example. There’s a lot to look at in terms of either we can change or improve besides just the bots that will result in legislation that works for people here in B.C.”

Public outrage surfaced in 2016 when the Tragically Hip’s farewell tour sold out virtually instantly across the country, with scalpers and ticket brokers then charging inflated values to resell the tickets. In Vancouver, a $160 ticket was resold on third party sites like Stub Hub for as much as $6,000. Concerns were raised again in 2017 when a Vancouver show for artist Pink sold out within seconds and were then resold online for more than $1,000.

B.C. has faced pressure to enact some sort of regulations to protect consumers from the unfair automated purchasing of concert, sports or event tickets for the purposes of reselling them at inflated prices.

Farnworth defending consulting, rather than taking immediate action, saying public consultation works and if government didn’t listen first it would be criticized.

Ontario bans scalper bots and also limits the resale value of tickets to 50 per cent increase on their face value.

Farnworth said some sort of limitations on bots makes sense, however he acknowledged that in some cases the bot owners could be out of B.C.’s jurisdiction and so the province needs to investigate the best way other provinces and countries are handling that issue. “We want to learn from the successes, as well as the failures, of other jurisdictions.”

B.C. government preps legislation on ticket scalpers and bots

B.C. will introduce legislation this fall to crack down on scalpers and bots that snatch up tickets to live events and gouge customers by reselling them for exorbitant prices, says the province’s solicitor general.