In what could result in a significant blow to scalpers, a new motion to ban ticket bots has today passed through the Australian Senate, the ABC reports.
Xenophon argued that the measures were necessary to “better protect consumers” from scalpers who have “cornered the market” through unscrupulous practices.
The motion seeks the introduction of legislation that would make the use of ticket scalping bots, used to quickly and effectively purchase swathes of tickets automatically upon sales commencing, illegal – a similar move to the one made by the U.S. late last year.
Introduced by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon yesterday, it managed to pass on the strength of the support from Labour and The Greens, as well as Senators Derryn Hinch and Jacqui Lambie, despite not receiving any from the Liberal Government itself.
“Genuine Australian fans are being unfairly deprived of tickets because ticket scalpers are using automated systems to buy a bulk of tickets when they are released,” Mr. Xenophon said in a statement.
“They’re then on-selling them for massive amounts to those that missed out.”
Senator Xenophon also had his say on ticket resale sites, which have also stood to benefit from ticket scalpers through their own disagreeable practices, and have come under scrutiny in recent weeks with consumer group CHOICE taking them before the ACCC.
“Of course consumers need to be aware of the risk of resale sites, but they can easily be misled from the feedback I have been getting.”
Mr. Xenophon has clearly seen the anger that’s been building, and which recently boiled over when Midnight Oil’s first tour in 15 years was hit with exorbitant markups by scalpers, despite their best-laid plans to protect their fans and make life hard for would-be opportunists.
“I think that enough people are coming forward,” he added, “enough people are sick of being ripped off, enough artists and concert promoters feel that what they’re doing is being undermined by ticket scalpers that there’s now a fresh push to do something about this.”
We certainly won’t fault him for jumping rather suddenly on an issue like this if it leads to much-needed reform.
“I’m quietly confident that in the next few months we will see some movement on this that will be good for consumers.”
You can read Senator Xenophon’s Senate motion in full below.
Nick Xenophon’s Senate Motion (20/03/17)
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) ticket scalping and the use of software to bypass computer security systems to purchase large numbers of tickets has a detrimental impact on genuine fans who often miss out or have to pay hugely inflated prices for events,
(ii) while there is a benefit in having a secondary market place for consumers to on-sell tickets when they have a legitimate reason to do so, many consumers are not aware that they are buying from a secondary market site as the business practices of many of those sites have the potential to mislead or deceive consumers in relation to their purchase, resulting in consumers purchasing tickets that are not genuine or at a vastly inflated price,
(iii) consumers are generally not able to rely on statutory consumer protections when they purchase tickets from secondary market sites,
(iv) in December 2016, the United States Congress passed the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016 which makes it illegal to use software to purchase tickets to popular events,
(v) the United Kingdom Government is also considering measures that would criminalise the misuse of “bot” technology to unlawfully obtain tickets to events,
(vi) the United Kingdom’s Consumer Rights Act requires that key details of tickets offered for resale should be given at the time of resale, including the face value of the ticket, seating area, as well as any restrictions that apply, but Australian consumers have no such protections,
(vii) the Senate Economics References Committee, in its report on ticket scalping in Australia tabled in the Senate in March 2014, identified the negative impact ticket scalping has on consumers, and
(viii) despite the findings of the Senate Economics References Committee, the Government has not made any substantive changes to address the issues identified in the report; and
(b) The Senate calls on the Government to introduce legislation to better protect customers from ticket scalpers, following the example of the USA with their Better Online Ticket Sales Act 2016, and the UK with the relevant provisions of their Consumer Rights Act and other measures under consideration by the UK Government.