House Bill 4335: An Act to reform the issuance and sale of sports and entertainment tickets
H4335 was reported favorably by the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, and referred to the committee on House Ways and Means. The bill combines elements of H237, by Rep. Moran, and S142, by Sen. Eldridge, to create a single bill that would protect Massachusetts consumers.
House Bill 4335 addresses the key issues which NEFTA has been working to reform:
- Price Caps: H4335 removes the two dollar above face value price cap on resold tickets. Under current law, when a fan resells a ticket over the price cap, it is illegal, while there are loopholes in the laws that allow certain businesses to charge “reasonable service fees.” This law creates a confusing grey market for businesses, while not allowing fans the same rights.
If a fan needs to sell a ticket at the last minute, the best place to do that is outside the venue; however, fans have to look over their shoulders for fear of being caught breaking an archaic law. Additionally, with the advent of the internet, this type of law has become virtually impossible to enforce, and the cost of enforcement would greatly outweigh any public benefit. This bill would significantly curb the black market for reselling tickets and lead to more competition on the secondary market keeping prices and fees down while making it safer, fairer and more competitive for fans and small businesses.
- Restricted Tickets: H4335 would ban restricted ticketing (also known as paperless ticketing or credit card entry ticketing). The bill simply would require all ticket companies to offer an opt-out option whenever restricted tickets are offered. Anyone who chooses to opt out of restricted tickets would instead receive a mobile or physical ticket. Restricted ticketing is bad for fans, businesses and non-profits because the tickets are completely non-transferrable which means they cannot be resold, given to a friend or donated to a charity. Although restricted ticketing is advertised as an anti-scalping measure, the costs far outweigh any small anti-scalping measure the practice provides.
- Bots: H4335 prohibits the use of automated ticket buying systems with the purpose of reselling purchased tickets. Robotic ticket-buying software (bots) is anti-consumer and anti-fan. They are used to unfairly snatch up large quantities of tickets as soon as they go on sale. These tickets are then resold on the secondary market, for far over face value, before actual fans ever have the opportunity to purchase them on the primary market.