“Before the pandemic, British Columbians told us they were frustrated with not being able to get tickets to live events in their local area without resorting to tickets sold on the secondary market at highly inflated prices,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “The Ticket Sales Act will provide greater transparency and accountability in the industry so people will have a fair shot at getting tickets and be confident that better consumer protections are in place.”
Coming into force on July 1, 2021, the new Ticket Sales Act will regulate live event ticket sales and help level the playing field for fans by prohibiting bots and improving disclosure and refund requirements for consumers trying to buy tickets.
The act focuses on those who sell tickets as a business, rather than consumer-to-consumer transactions. These new rules will affect business practices that were previously only subject to general consumer protection rules rather than specific laws relating to ticket sales and resales.
“We are all excited to attend live concerts, sports and performances again,” said Bob D’Eith, Parliamentary Secretary for Arts and Film. “We’re making sure consumers will be better protected when buying advance tickets, so they can look forward to enjoying the cultural activities we’ve all missed so much. This is how we’re building back better.”
As part of the process to develop regulations for the Ticket Sales Act, government’s obligations under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and the specific interests of Indigenous peoples were considered. The ministry consulted with self-governing First Nations in B.C. that are affected by the exemptions and worked with those expressing an interest in the regulations to ensure their feedback was reflected.
Ticket Sales Act details
The Ticket Sales Act will:
- promote fairness for ticket buyers by banning bots that buy large quantities of tickets for resale purposes;
- ban businesses from selling tickets that they don’t have or control to consumers;
- establish clear rules for when ticket buyers are owed a refund
- increase transparency about ticket prices, terms and conditions and whether it is a ticket reseller that is offering the ticket for sale;
- establish enforcement and compliance tools to ensure the rules are followed;
- provide a right to civil action for losses or damages as the result of a contravention of the legislation.
There will be exemptions for smaller scale events that are likely to have lower consumer demand and no significant ticket resale market. This will prevent unintended consequences for organizations that could be negatively affected from an operational or financial viability perspective if they were required to comply with the new rules.
The act will exempt ticket sales for events held in the following places, unless they are leased out for third party events:
- all K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions, including those operated by First Nations;
- places of public worship (e.g., churches, mosques);
- places owned or operated by local government entities such as municipalities, regional districts and park boards, or by self-governing First Nations;
- a general exemption is also established for movie ticket sales, as they are not live events and risks to consumers are low.
Consumer Protection BC will administer the act and play a role in monitoring and enforcement via a progressive compliance and enforcement model that provides a range of tools starting with education and voluntary compliance.
To learn more about BC’s Restart – a four-step plan to bring B.C. back together: https://www.gov.bc.ca/restartbc
Ticket Buying in British Columbia – What We Heard report: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/sports-recreation-arts-and-culture/ticket-buying/what-we-heard-report.pdf
Information about B.C. consumer protection laws – Consumer Protection BC: www.consumerprotectionbc.ca