Ticket Platforms, Beware: New York Axes Hidden Fees For Concerts And Entertainment Events


 Leonard Gordon (Venable LLP) and Christopher Boone (Venable LLP)

Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA)

In June, New York enacted a ticket transparency law seeking to make sweeping changes to how ticket prices are communicated to consumers and eliminate deceptive ticket pricing practices. The law will go into effect on August 29, 2022, leaving little time for ticket platforms, resellers, and entertainment venues to make necessary changes to their ticket selling practices and checkout flows.

The law requires ticket sellers, resellers, online ticket platforms, and entertainment venues that facilitate the sale of tickets to disclose the total cost of a ticket, including all fees that must be paid to purchase the ticket.

Significantly, this disclosure of the total cost to purchase must be displayed in the ticket listing prior to the ticket being selected for purchase. Disclosure of the total price only in the final steps of the checkout process will not be sufficient under the new law. Ticket sellers must also clearly and conspicuously state how much of the ticket price represents a service charge or other fee.

Accordingly, before the consumer selects a ticket for purchase, sellers must clearly disclose the full cost of the ticket, including how much of that cost is attributable to fees. This disclosure cannot be misleading, and any subtotals or other price components must be presented in a type size that is the same as or larger than that of the total price.

The New York law provides no exception for dynamically priced tickets. The price of the ticket must not increase during the checkout process, except for reasonable fees for the delivery of non-electronic tickets based on the delivery method selected by the purchaser. A delivery fee cannot be charged for tickets delivered electronically or that can be printed by the purchaser.

Currently, in New York, online ticket reseller platforms are required to disclose on their website that the price of tickets offered for resale may exceed the price established by the venue operator. The new law will now require reseller platforms to also disclose the face price established by the venue operator prior to the consumer completing any transaction.

Finally, the new law prohibits the resale of tickets that were initially offered to the public for free and increases the penalties for using automated software or bots to purchase and resell event tickets.

These requirements present a fairly dramatic change to how tickets prices are commonly communicated to consumers. Ticket sellers and resellers must quickly implement and adapt to these changes, as the law is set to take effect later this month.

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Originally Published At The Mondaq Platform.