National Consumers League

New York Attorney General report shows anti-consumer practices remain rampant in ticketing industry

January 28, 2016

Contact: Cindy Hoang, National Consumers League, or (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL) welcomes a new report on the ticketing industry released today by the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Though NCL disagrees with some of the report’s recommendations, the Schneiderman investigation highlights the rampant ticket industry abuse and need for reforms that NCL and others have long advocated.

The following statement is attributable to John Breyault, NCL vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud:

Consumers across the country shouldn’t be surprised by the findings of the New York Attorney General’s report on live event ticketing practices. NCL was an early and vocal critic of the live event ticketing industry. The report’s finding—that the modern ticket marketplace is rife with abuses that prevent consumers from accessing tickets to popular events at a fair price—has long been known to anyone that tries to buy a live event ticket.

There are no white knights in this marketplace. Unscrupulous ticket brokers abuse the market and violate the law by using sophisticated ticket-buying “bot” software to purchase large numbers of tickets and resell them at outrageous markups. Conversely, ticketing monopolists, promoters, and venue owners engage in the anti-consumer practice of holding back huge numbers of tickets for well-connected “insiders.” Indeed, as revealed recently, these same insiders often turn around and resell the tickets themselves.

We agree with many of the New York Attorney General’s recommendations. These include requiring better disclosure of bot activity to enforcement agencies by primary ticketers, more transparency on ticket “holds,” and better enforcement of existing consumer protections against abusive ticket broker practices. However, we disagree with the Attorney General’s recommendation that New York’s existing “paperless option” law should be repealed. The law, unique in the United States, ensures that primary ticketers in New York can’t take away a consumer’s right to give away, resell, or donate a tickets on an open and competitive secondary market. Rather than restrict consumers’ rights, legislators in New York and elsewhere should mandate transparency at all levels of the ticket marketplace, ensure that existing consumer protections are well-enforced and promote competition in the sale of live event tickets.


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