Canada Bans Bots, Caps Ticket Resale Prices

TORONTO (CelebrityAccess) — The Canadian government on Wednesday enacted measures to protect consumers that included a ban on automated ticket buying software and which set a limit on resale prices.

According to the Canadian Press, the provisions in the Ticket Sales Act were included in omnibus consumer protection legislation shepherded through Parliment by the majority Liberal Government.

The Act makes it illegal to utilize automated software, often known as bots, to purchase event tickets. The act also makes it illegal to knowingly resell ticket inventory that was obtained by bots.

Other measures in the act cap ticket secondary market resale prices at %150 of the face value of the ticket, and requires ticket sellers to disclose the face value of the ticket, as well as display an itemized list all of all fees, taxes and service charges.

Provisions in early versions of the bill that required ticket sellers to disclose the total number of tickets going on sale, as well as venue capacity were not included in the passed legislation.

Major players in the ticketing industry such as Ticketmaster and StubHub have warned that the legislation may have unanticipated consequences, leaving companies that operate by the rules at a disadvantage and creating artificial price controls for ticket inventory.

Other organizations, such as Music Canada Live, have also expressed skepticism about the legislation. In a statement released following the passage of the act, MCL director Erin Benjamin took exception to the price caps, writing:

"we remain concerned that the reintroduction of legislated price caps will not serve the best interests of Ontario consumers. Several years ago, the (formerly known as) Ticket Legislation Act was revised to remove caps because they failed to prevent tickets being sold above face value.

"Ontario has been here before – regulating the price of tickets will once again drive illegal and fraudulent activity deeper into the dark corners of the internet – and will not protect fans. Concert goers will pay more for tickets and have less certainty that those tickets will be real. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce and will encourage more out-of-jurisdiction, and increased illegal, resale activity. It is unclear how this time will be different. Emphasis should instead be placed on raising awareness and the education of fans as to ‘how to buy tickets safely’. Additionally, investing in Ontario's technology sector to develop solutions will both stimulate business and help to solve problems at the same time."

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