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British Columbia proposes new anti-touting laws

By | Published on Thursday 11 April 2019

Empty seats

The Canadian province of British Columbia has announced proposals for new anti-ticket touting legislation. The proposed laws would regulate how tickets can be bought and sold in the region, and follow a public consultation.

Laws such as this are decided on a province by province basis in Canada, which means rules vary around the country. But there has previously been plenty of discussion about better regulating the touts elsewhere in Canada, most recently in Ontario, though Quebec currently has the strictest regulations.

What is being proposed in British Columbia wouldn’t ban touting, but would put restrictions on resellers and the secondary ticketing platforms they employ. Some of the rules mirror what was in the UK’s Consumer Rights Act in 2015, although the proposals do go further.

The new laws would force ticket resellers to disclose that they are not a primary seller, clearly display prices, and disclosure key terms and conditions. Ticket resellers and reselling platforms would be required to provide refund guarantees, and the speculative selling of tickets that sellers do not already possess would be outlawed.

“These changes are going to make our live event industry in BC even better for the people who matter most – the fans”, says Mike Farnworth, the province’s Minister Of Public Safety. “The new laws will make the ticket buying process more transparent and equitable for consumers, so that everyone in our province will have a fair chance of getting tickets for their favourite acts and events”.

Also included in the bill is a ban on touts buying up large quantities of tickets using automated software, often referred to as bots. The use of such ticket buying tech is something even most secondary platforms agree should not be allowed.

“For too long, artists and concert goers were being unfairly hurt by ticket buying software and bots”, says Lisa Beare, Minister Of Tourism, Arts And Culture. “This new ticket buying legislation will ensure that people are protected with better price transparency. Most of all, people will be able to enjoy the diverse performances and entertainment BC has to offer, without being unfairly gouged at the box office”.

The public consultation that led to this newly proposed legislation was carried out in March last year, with more than 6500 people responding.