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Alabama lawmakers consider law protecting right to resell tickets

By | Published on Thursday 23 March 2017

Ticket touts

Lawmakers in Alabama could next month approve a new rule that would give consumers a statutory right to resell any tickets they have bought, which would limit the tactics artists and promoters can employ to try to cut back on ticket touting.

There are parallels between the proposals made by Alabama representative Paul Lee and the previously reported measures put forward in Virginia by delegate Dave Albo. The state-level laws would stop event organisers from cancelling tickets that have been resold or forcing customers to resell their tickets via a specific resale service.

As previously reported, defenders of the secondary ticketing market have, in the past, argued that a ticket is simply a product and people should be allowed to buy and resell products if they so wish.

Those who oppose touting often counter that, actually, a ticket is a contract between the promoter and the original buyer, and that contract usually includes a term that says the agreement is non-transferrable. Therefore the ticket becomes void if the buyer attempts a transfer, because they are in breach of contract.

The laws proposed by Lee and Albo would confirm a ticket as a piece of property that people can resell via a platform of their choosing. Both politicians position their proposals as attempts to protect consumers who buy tickets intending to attend an event but who then can’t go, rather than to help professional ticket resellers.

Lee, in particular, seems to be targeting the practice of promoters having an approved resale partner, so that customers can resell their tickets but only via one platform, which usually pays the event organiser a share of the resale commission. Tickets resold via other platforms may then be cancelled. Partnerships of this kind between promoters and secondary ticketing sites are particularly common in the sports sector.

According to WSFA, Lee said: “I think, personally, once you buy [a ticket], it’s yours to do with whatever you would like to do with it. Give it away, sell it, whatever the case may be, rather than have to turn it in back to the company, allow them to resell it and make more money on resale”.

The new laws in Virginia and Alabama will make it harder for those promoters who are trying to stop the touting of tickets to their shows by threatening to cancel tickets bought via the resale platforms and/or by locking tickets to a credit card.

Lee’s bill in Alabama has been passed by the state’s house of representatives and will go before its senate next month.