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New Jersey lawmakers consider changing ticket selling laws

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: State legislators are about to vote on an overhaul of ticket-buying and resale laws in New Jersey aimed at regulating secondary ticket agencies and exchanges that resell well above face value — in some cases after a singer or band has held back a number of seats for resale.

The proposed law, advanced by a Senate committee this morning, would require that ticket issuers provide advance public notice of:

  • the total number of tickets to be issued;
  • the number of tickets to be offered to the general public;
  • the number of holdback tickets;
  • the number of public tickets for each class, tier or level of admission;
  • any service charge, premium or other fee applicable to the sale of tickets;
  • the time at which ticket sales for an event will begin.

It also mandates that advertisements for the initial sale of tickets, and the tickets themselves, be marked with the initial price of the tickets, including itemized listings of any taxes, service charges and fees.

The bill defines “advanced public notice” as at least 15 days prior to the initial sale of tickets at any place or website the tickets are sold by a ticket issuer or an owner or operator of an entertainment venue.

What’s more, it requires that ticket vendors, resellers or marketplaces provide a full refund buyers for tickets that do not grant entry to an event or for events that are cancelled.

It also prevents ticket issuers from selling non-transferable paperless tickets, allowing purchasers to use, resell or gift tickets.

Violators would face fourth-degree criminal charges and penalties under the Consumer Fraud Act.

“This balanced legislation provides overdue consumer protections, introduces transparency into the ticket sale process and facilitates responsible ticket resales in a free market,” said state Sen. Robert Singer, the bi-partisan bill’s sponsor.

Ticket resales “for too long and in too many cases [have] taken advantage of consumers by imposing ambiguous fees and creating an unlevel playing field,” Singer said. “There have been a number of reported instances where an artist has held a number of tickets for sale in secondary markets, costing consumers to pay well beyond face value.”

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