​Ontario Government Passes Ticket Sales Act, but Ticketmaster and StubHub Aren't Happy About It

The ticket outlets have issued some stern warnings in the wake of the new law
​Ontario Government Passes Ticket Sales Act, but Ticketmaster and StubHub Aren't Happy About It
After unveiling plans to reform ticket reselling practices in the province earlier this year, the Ontario government has passed new legislation aiming to protect ticket buyers through preventing outrageous resale markups and strengthening purchasing laws.

The province's Ticket Sales Act was passed today (December 13) as part of a larger consumer-protection bill, which also strengthens rules surrounding home warranties, real estate practices and travel services in Ontario.

The legislation outright bans the use of scalper bots and makes it illegal for resellers to market tickets that were knowingly purchased that way, in addition to ruling that tickets cannot be resold at more than 50 percent of their face value. 

Sellers are also expected to list all fees, taxes and service charges, while resellers are required to disclose the proper face value of the tickets in question.

In reaction to the legislation, ticket industry figureheads Ticketmaster and StubHub are warning consumers that capping resale prices will create unintended consequences for consumers. Namely, driving buyers away from their websites to find tickets elsewhere on other platforms that offer no protection against fraud.

"Ticket resale prices will continue to be driven by supply and demand, not by arbitrarily set price caps. The fact is, if a venue holds 20,000 fans, but 100,000 fans want to attend the performance, ticket prices will reflect that demand," StubHub North American general manager Jeff Poirier wrote in an open letter to users. 

He continued: "If the established market rate exceeds the 50 percent cap established by government, those sales won't stop or adapt to reflect the price caps — they'll just occur at their true value through channels the government cannot regulate. It will happen on street corners where the risk of counterfeit and fraud is significant, and no guarantees are in place; or it will happen on ticket resale websites located outside of jurisdiction of the Ontario government. Either way — you and businesses that have invested in the province will be hurt."

While agreeing on the move to ban bots, StubHub called the legislation "a disappointment for the ticketing industry, and a disappointment for fans like you" in the letter.

While also agreeing the ban on bots was a good decision, Ticketmaster took issue with the price cap. Patti-Anne Tarlton, chief operating officer for Ticketmaster Canada, told the CBC that while the act was "a very productive piece of legislation," the government needs to give some ground on capping prices.