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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Consumer rights group supports controversial event ticket legislation

14

December

The Florida Consumer Action Network is weighing in on a controversial proposal involving event ticket sales, saying too many falsehoods have been spread about what the bills would accomplish.

Fine arts and athletic venues around the state have vocally opposed the measure, saying it would allow third-party resellers like StubHub to buy up tickets in bulk. The also believe the proposal would lead to quicker sellouts and steeper prices.

But StubHub has denied that. It says it is pushing the legislation to give consumers more freedom to buy and sell event tickets as they choose and to improve transparency. Today, the Florida Consumer Action Network said it was taking StubHub's side.

Senate Bill 392 and House Bill 225, sponsored by Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Ft. Lauderdale, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, were filed several months ago but still haven't been heard in committee.

Here is the Florida Consumer Action Network's news release:

HB 225 and SB 392 Provide Consumers with Fair and Transparent Ticket Practices

Separating Myths from Fact on Legislation to Protect Consumers’ Rights

 Tampa, FL – The Florida Consumer Action Network (FCAN), the state’s voice for consumers, supports HB 225 and SB 392 to ensure transparency and transferability in the ticket market.

“This legislation simply ensures that consumers who purchase a ticket to an event will have ownership of that ticket and ensures transparency and choice in the ticket market,” said Bill Newton, executive director of FCAN. “There is a lot of misinformation surrounding this legislation, and it is important that Florida consumers know the facts.”

FACTS ABOUT HB 225 AND SB 392:

  • HB 225 & SB 392 PROTECT A COMPETITIVE, TRANSPARENT AND FREE MARKET:  HB 225 and SB 392 will ensure that consumers have the right to sell or transfer their ticket any way they choose, to anyone they choose, at any price they choose.  This is the essence of a well-functioning free market.
  • HB 225 & SB 392 PROTECT BASIC RIGHTS OF FANS: We have all given tickets away to friends and family, or sold tickets to colleagues when forced to back out of a game or concert. HB 225 and 392 protect these basic freedoms that we have all enjoyed.
  • HB 225 & SB 392 CURB PREDATORY PRACTICES OF THE TICKET INDUSTRY: HB 225 and SB 392 ensure that teams, venues or companies like Ticketmaster cannot employ restrictive technologies (like restrictive paperless tickets) that lock valid ticketholders out of events.

MYTHS ABOUT HB 225 AND SB 392:

  • HB 225 & SB 392 REMOVE PROTECTIONS FOR NONPROFIT VENUES: This is false. HB 225 and SB 392 will not make the original ticket seller responsible for refunding tickets purchased on the secondary market.
  • HB 225 & SB 392 GIVE SCALPERS UNLIMITED ACCESS TO TICKETS: This is false. HB 225 and SB 392 will not affect in any way how a venue can choose to restrict the number of tickets that a customer can purchase.
  • HB 225 & SB 392 HURT CONSUMERS: This is false. HB 225 and SB 392 will HELP consumers by ensuring their right to transfer tickets and recoup losses if they cannot attend an event. These bills will also require transparency from big ticket sellers who often pre-sell the best tickets to favored customers. 
  • HB 225 & SB 392 PREVENT DYNAMIC PRICING:  This is false.  HB 225 and SB 392 do not prevent dynamic pricing.  In fact, a free and open secondary market often results in below-face value ticket sales, one of the touted consumer benefits of dynamic ticket pricing.

FCAN is a grassroots organization headquartered in Tampa which empowers citizens to influence public policy by organizing and educating in areas where consumer voices are underrepresented. Executive Director Bill Newton is a board member of the Consumer Federation of America. For more information, visit:  www.fcan.org.

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[Last modified: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 10:18am]

    

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