Labor Proposes Crack Down On Ticket Scalping To Protect Fans, Music and Sport

The rush to buy a ticket for a music or sport event can be stressful.

It can also be incredibly disappointing when the chance to go to an event slips away, as tickets sell out in minutes.

But often, it's not mere mortals that mange to jump through online hoops the quickest, but scalpers and ticket-buying bot software.

The federal Labor Party announced on Friday that a national ban on the use of scalping software will be enacted if they win office at the next election. The proposal aims to give sport and music fans a chance to purchase a ticket at the proper retail price, instead of having to buy at an inflated cost from a ticket scalper.

Labor announced a crackdown on ticket reselling prices on Friday. Image: Getty Images.

"It is estimated bots account for as much as 30 percent of the traffic to primary ticketing sites in the moments after a major event goes on sale," Labor said in a statement to media on Friday.

In addition to the ban on scalping software, Labor will introduce a cap in the resale price of tickets at 110 percent of their initial face value.

"This crackdown will aim to cut the business model for websites like Viagogo, which relies on selling tickets to music and sports fans at exorbitant, inflated prices and can often leave consumers stranded with useless tickets that have been sold multiple times," Labor said.

Why Is Ticket Scalping An Issue?

Ticket scalping is the act of reselling a ticket to an event for an inflated price. This practice sees people, or bots via online scalping software, buy tickets to an event and then resell them to the public at higher prices.

This is a problem because average people are unable to access tickets at the regular price, and so are forced to pay more to go to an event than they should. In this way, ticket scalpers are able to earn an income from ticket selling.

Consumes could pay more if they buy a ticket through a ticket scalper. Image: Getty Images.

Controversial ticket resale website Viagogo is a well-known platform where tickets are resold, often at vastly inflated prices. The site has copped international criticism for failing to prevent ticket inflation and not working with artists and event organisers to stop secondary ticket resale.

In 2017, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched legal action against Viagogo, claiming the site made false or misleading representations and had deceptive conduct.

In March this year, Aussie rock band Gang Of Youths hit out at ticket scalpers after fans missed out on going to their concerts because tickets were allegedly scalped.

"The reason Gang Of Youths supports this vital move against brands like Viagogo is simple. It's the devaluing of labour and exploiting those who might benefit from it," David Le'aupepe said on Friday.

"There are ethical limits to markets. Exploitation is not good business."

"Those who deserve the prime cut of our labour. The audience, the fans, the people should not be held hostage by the small-time supremos, the basement rats who don't care about the creators of song nor the people who listen to it but care only for turning measly profits like low-stakes hustlers," Le'aupepe said.

The Laws On Scalping State-By-State

New South Wales: In June 2018 NSW introduced tough new laws on ticket scalping. Scalpers were no longer able to resell a ticket for more than 10 percent above its original price. The maximum penalty for breaking this threshold is $10,000 for an individual and $22,000 for an organisation.

Queensland: It is illegal in Queensland for any individual or body corporate to resell a ticket for more than 10 percent above its original price.

Laws on ticket reselling differ from state to state. Image: Getty Images.

Victoria: It is an offence to resell a ticket for more than 10 percent above its original value. Fines for anyone who breaches this law stand between $804 and $483,500.

READ MORE: Ticket Scalping Crackdown With $483,000 Fine

Western Australia: Legislation to make selling tickets for more than 10 percent above the original price was introduced into WA parliament earlier this week. The bill would see individuals could face fines of $20,000. Body corporates could face up to $100,000 in fines.

South Australia: Tickets cannot be sold for more than 10 percent of their initial cost. If this is violated, any person faces a $20,000 and a group faces a $100,000 fine.

READ MORE: The Music Site That’s Helping Trigger Memories For People With Dementia

Safe Practices When Buying Tickets In Re-Sell

There are a number of practices that people can follow if they wish to resell a ticket or buy a ticket that prevents scammers making money.

It's recommended people research to establish who is the official ticket seller  is for an event and the date they go on sale. It's also advised that buyers don't panic in the stress of trying to snap up a ticket quickly.

In case of things going wrong, it's also important to know about the rights buyers have to refunds or exchanges and to contact the official website with ticket-related questions or to report circulations of fake tickets.

Featured Image: Getty Images. 

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au