June 19, 2019

Texas Passes Legislation Prohibiting Deceptive Ticketing Sites

Last week, Governor Greg Abbott (TX) signed into law SB 2409, legislation that will protect consumers in Texas from deceptive practices in the online ticket industry.

The Lone Star State has always been a hotbed of sports and culture. Texas is home to “America’s Team”, the Dallas Cowboys, the Houston Texans, the five-time NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs, Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks, the Houston Rockets, two MLB contenders the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers, and above all else Big 12 College Football! Texas’ sports heritage is unmatched in America.

Unfortunately, Texans have had to be diligent to avoid bad actors in the online ticketing industry.  

The use of deceptive practices, specifically “white label” websites have been common use across the country. These website operators deceive consumers into believing that they are buying tickets directly from the official event, venue, artist, or team, when in fact they are shopping on a ticket resale website. These “white label” sites typically source their functionality – seat maps, payment processing, customer service, etc. – from affiliated resale sites and use their deceptive URLs to manipulate search engine results. Perhaps most concerning, these sites frequently charge higher prices and higher fees than the resale websites they are affiliated with. Below are two examples of white label sites that targeted fans in Texas with deceptive URLs:

The legislation signed by Governor Abbott makes it unlawful for a ticket website operator to intentionally use an Internet domain name that contains any of the following:

  1. The name of the place of entertainment, or a name that is substantially similar; or
  2. The name of the event, or any name that is substantially similar, including the name of the person or entity scheduled to perform or appear at the place of entertainment.

StubHub applauds Governor Abbott, Senator Menendez and the entire Texas Legislature for taking this major step forward to protect fans of live events in the State of Texas.