California Takes a Stand Against Ticket Scalping Scheme

Monday, July 15, 2019

SACRAMENTO – A bill introduced by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) to prevent ticket scalpers from purchasing large quantities of tickets and reselling them at inflated prices, sometimes up to thirty times the ticket’s face value, has been signed into law.

 

A 2018 investigative report revealed that representatives from Ticketmaster marketed its ticket resales platform, TradeDesk, directly to ticket scalpers at a conference in Las Vegas. TradeDesk representatives purposely highlighted the capability of the platform to circumvent state limits on the amount of tickets that can be sold before additional consumer protections kick in.

 

“Services like Trade Desk can help circumvent California consumer protection laws and take advantage of consumers,” said Assemblymember Quirk. “It is wrong when companies allow scalpers to drive up the cost of tickets in their pursuit of increasing the resale volume through their services.”

 

AB 1032 expands existing penalties on using software to circumvent protections on bulk purchases of tickets. Current statute primarily targets third-party bots used to scan webpages hundreds of times a minute. With AB 1032, these protections will include software or services offered by the primary ticket seller, such as Ticketmaster.

 

While Ticketmaster did not take a position on the bill, they did inform Assemblymember Quirk that they do not support the use of their software to by-pass consumer protection laws, and provided a technical demonstration of the Trade Desk service.

 

“It shouldn’t matter if scalpers are using custom-made bots or use sophisticated services like TradeDesk,” continued Assemblymember Quirk. “There is no reason consumers should pay hundreds of dollars over face value for concerts or musicals just because they are competing against software for a limited amount of tickets. I’m glad Governor Newsom agreed with my logic and signed this measure into law.”

                                               

AB 1032 goes into effect on January 1, 2020.