Release date: May 4, 2011
Minneapolis, MN – The National Consumers League and Consumer Action, two of the nation’s leading consumer advocacy groups, today urged Minnesota legislators to approve Senate File 425, a measure that would ensure consumers have the right to share or sell sports and entertainment tickets.
At issue is the relatively new practice of issuing restrictive paperless tickets, tied to a purchaser’s credit card and photo ID, in place of traditional tickets. This process can prevent consumers from transferring a ticket altogether and places burdensome restrictions on consumers. Senate File 425 will not eliminate electronic ticketing; it simply preserves consumers’ options for selling, trading or sharing event tickets.
John Breyault, vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud for the National Consumer League, urged the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee to support Senate File 425 because it protects consumers’ property rights by permitting the resale of tickets that they have already paid full price for and own. A Committee vote is expected in the coming weeks.
“Paperless tickets are a bold gambit by millionaire artists, billionaire sports team owners and Ticketmaster to eliminate competition in the resale market and wring every last dollar out of consumers,” stated Breyault, who also spoke on behalf of the national consumer group, Consumer Action. “Ticketmaster claims that paperless ticketing provides more convenience for consumers. However, paperless tickets have inconvenienced many more fans because they limit transferability and erase the secondary market.”
There have been reports of fans who are forced to await the arrival of their entire party before entering an event; who do not know their seat assignments until arriving at the stadium; who must accompany their children and stand in line in the cold to show their identification at an event they do not plan to attend; and who have experienced difficulties redeeming their purchases and transferring tickets to friends and family.
The secondary market has grown extensively since it moved from a cash business often conducted outside venues to the internet, where ticket reseller websites guarantee authenticity and allow consumers to buy and sell tickets at market price.
“Consumers frequently turn to the online ticket resale market because it is competitive, transparent, and often offers consumer protections that rival or exceed those of original ticket sellers,” added Linda Sherry, Director of National Priorities at Consumer Action. “I can understand why teams and event producers want to shut off fans’ access to the secondary market. But why should our elected representatives permit this? Haven’t taxpayers already funded stadiums, road, mass transit and others ways of supporting teams and event producers? Must we really give up our resale ticket rights too?”
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.
About Consumer Action
Consumer Action has been a champion of underrepresented consumers nationwide since 1971. A nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, Consumer Action focuses on financial education that empowers low to moderate income and limited-English-speaking consumers to financially prosper. Our diverse staff provides expert commentary on key consumer issues supported by solid data. We offer access to victim testimony, as well as expertise on current financial issues affecting low to moderate income and limited-English-speaking consumers.