British Columbia Cracks Down on Ticket Scalping with New Law

BY Brock ThiessenPublished Apr 10, 2019

British Columbia is joining the fight against ticket scalping, with the provincial government introducing new legislation to bring more fairness and transparency to ticket-buying consumers.

The Ticket Sales Act was introduced on Tuesday (April 9) and aims to stop ticket-buying software — or bots — from buying huge amounts of tickets to live events and then reselling them at highly exaggerated prices. The new law will regulate all live cultural, recreational and sporting events in BC.

More specifically, the Ticket Sales Act aims to ban the use of bots to bypass online security measures on ticket sales sites, as well as forbids companies from selling tickets in BC that come at the digital hands of a software bot.

In addition, the legislation requires secondary ticket sellers like StubHub and Ticketmaster to disclose more information about prices, terms and conditions.

However, the legislation is only focusing on companies using bots and not on individuals. The act also doesn't have control over individuals — or companies — outside BC's jurisdiction.

What's more, the law will not place a cap on resale prices, with the government saying this has been difficult to enforce in other provinces that have adopted similar laws.

"It's not going to be getting about the individual in the Cayman Islands or in Russia, it's about ticket sellers such as Ticketmaster for example who monitor and have the ability to detect bots being able to cancel transactions, and also at the same time deal with bots located here in British Columbia," Solicitor General Mike Farnworth told the Vancouver Sun.

He went on to explain that the aim is to establish a larger regulatory framework to give "greater transparency and accountability" on ticket sales in BC. Part of this includes letting the consumer know the total ticket price, as well as a separate itemized list of any fees, services, taxes and charges.

Under the new legislation, ticket resellers must also list the face value of the ticket, as well as any secondary charges added to that price.

"Simply put, fans want to be able to get to live entertainment events without resorting to tickets sold on the secondary market at highly inflated prices," Farnworth told the Canadian Press. "With this new legislation, my hope is people in BC will find that ticket buying is a fairer, more transparent process."

The legislation follows a public consultation last year about the current ticket buying experience and selling process in BC. The government received 6,500 responses.

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