FTC to Hold Workshop Examining Online Event Ticket Sale - Agency Seeks Input in Advance of March 2019 Workshop; Project No. P18450
Online ticket buyers are vulnerable to many unethical practices by unauthorized ticket resellers, resulting in grossly inflated end-user prices and limited access to popular live events. Casual ticket buyers are often defrauded by professional brokers who rarely disclose the ticket's original price, advertise their exorbitant markups, declare that the site has no affiliation with the primary outlet or explain that the ticket offered for sale may not be in the broker's possession. Online ticket buyers are often denied access to their favorite events and subject to fraud in connection with obtaining tickets because unscrupulous companies and individuals in the ticket resale market take advantage of consumers by selling counterfeit tickets or by failing to disclose the printed face-price of bona fide tickets or the broker's markup at any point in the purchasing process, misleading buyers to believe they are purchasing tickets at the established price from an authorized outlet. Often, broker customers are not aware that they were charged a significant premium until they have already paid for, and received, the physical ticket. Unethical brokers routinely purchase many of the best available seating locations at the moment event tickets go on sale for the sole purpose of reselling them at enormous profit. This activity deprives consumers of the opportunity to acquire seats from places of entertainment or their authorized agents and distributors at the established retail prices set by the performers, clubs, theaters, producers and arenas. Unscrupulous brokers often offer for sale inventory they have not obtained, or that has not yet gone on sale, without advising consumers that the broker has no affiliation with the event but will merely attempt to fulfill the order. Brokers often insert venue names into their internet URLs and post copyrighted logos on their websites in an effort to mislead the public into believing they are transacting with an authorized agent of the venue. Additionally, once a broker conveys a ticket to an unsuspecting buyer, they leave event venue, which had no involvement in the transaction or any relationship with the unauthorized reseller, as the only party to satisfy swindled customers.