March 29, 2019

Utah Passes Fan First Ticket Bills

This week, Governor Gary Herbert signed two Consumer Ticket Protection bills into law, HB 128 and SB 69 making Utah one of the most consumer friendly states in the country.

These bills address some of the issues fans across the country are facing, including being deceived into paying more for tickets and purchasing tickets that are non-transferable.

First, the issue of deception, fans often see ads for “white-label” or “private label” ticket sites that impersonate the most renowned sports stadiums, music halls and theaters in the country. Such sites give consumers the impression that they are purchasing from the official box office, when in fact, these sites hold no connection to official teams or box offices. These sites are simply advertising schemes designed to manipulate web results in an anti-consumer manner. Buyers often don’t realize they’ve been misled until after they’ve purchased tickets.

HB 128 will protect consumers in Utah by enhancing disclosures and eliminating deceptive URLs:

  1. Making it unlawful for a ticket website operator to represent that they are a primary seller, such as by using use an Internet domain name that contains the name of the event or the name of the event participant without written authorization; and 
  2. Requiring ticket aggregators to clearly and conspicuously disclose that the website is a secondary market and that the price of a ticket may be higher than face value

Second, as a condition of the initial sale, ticket businesses, sports teams, artists and venues are increasingly using terms and conditions, technology and ticket delivery techniques to place restrictions on the tickets that fans have rightfully purchased. In some instances, these restrictions may prevent fans from transferring, giving away or reselling their tickets altogether.

SB 69 will protect consumers in Utah by adding consumer protections which:

  1. Require a person who issues a ticket to an event to issue the ticket using a delivery  method that enables the purchaser to lawfully resell the ticket independent of the person who issued the ticket; and
  2. Prohibit ticket issuers from penalizing consumers who elect to transfer or resell their tickets or purchase resold tickets.

We applaud Governor Herbert and the Utah Legislature for taking action and ensuring and free, competitive and consumer friendly ticketing marketplace in The Beehive State.