House Committee Launches Investigation Into Live Event Ticketing Practices

The House Energy and Commerce committee on Thursday (Nov. 21) announced a probe into the practices of the live event ticketing industry. According to a release from the committee, a letter was sent to Live Nation as well as StubHub, Tickets.com, AEG’s Anschutz Entertainment and other companies, requesting information regarding ticketing policies and other company practices.

“The Committee, which has broad jurisdiction over consumer protection issues, is concerned about potentially unfair and deceptive practices occurring in the primary and secondary ticket marketplace, many of which have been documented in consumer complaints, press stories, and government reports,” the letter reads.

The committee addresses several trends in the live event ticketing industry, including “high, hidden fees, speculative tickets that harm unknowing customers, and ‘white label’ websites that may use practices to deceive consumers.”

The release also highlighted previous efforts led by the committee to protect consumers and to promote transparency. In 2016, the committee and House of Representatives passed H.R. 5104, the “Better On-line Ticket Sales Act of 2016,” which prohibits the use of computer software to purchase tickets by circumventing security measures of ticketing websites; the Senate companion to this legislation became law in December 2016. The committee also sent a bipartisan request to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking that GAO initiate a study of the ticketing industry and its impact on consumers. GAO published the resulting report in April 2018. In July 2018, the then-Ranking Member of the Committee also sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), requesting the agency examine a host of consumer protection issues regarding this marketplace.

“Nonetheless, despite ongoing bipartisan efforts by the Committee, as well as federal agency action to better understand the current ticketing marketplace, consumers still face a host of troubling practices and trends in the ticketing industry,” the Committee leaders continued. “Many of these issues relate to a lack of transparency and fairness, which places purchasers at an unfair advantage when attempting to buy tickets in the current marketplace.”

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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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