The STOP Act: A Timely Reform To Ease The Risk of Ticket Buying?

BY Dora Abena Dzaka December 7, 2023 2:06 PM EDT
Photo Credit: Facebook @Concert Vibes

The Speculative Ticketing Oversight and Prohibition (STOP) Act was passed on Wednesday, December 6, by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce.

The STOP Act could make purchasing concert tickets a more straightforward process as the entire House is set to vote on the bill.

The Act accomplishes much more than just stopping speculative ticketing.

Gus Michael Bilirakis, an American lawyer and politician who has represented Florida’s 12th congressional district in Congress since 2013, referred to it as the “biggest ticket reform in years.”

Additionally, the bill addresses several opaque ticketing practices and other issues that confuse, aggravate, and annoy customers.

First of all, the bill mandates that ticket vendors display the total cost of the ticket at the very beginning of the buying process instead of at the point of checkout.

“The price you pay is the same as what you see when you order the ticket,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) declared at the hearing on Wednesday.

The bill also ensures ticket buyers can get refunds when concerts are canceled or postponed. Ticket buyers will have the option of receiving a full refund or, subject to availability, a replacement ticket if the event is postponed and rescheduled in the same or a “comparable” location.

Knowing if a ticket is being purchased from the primary seller or a secondary marketplace is another benefit of the STOP Act for customers.

According to the bill, ticket sellers would have to inform purchasers in writing that they are selling tickets to a secondary market in “a clear and conspicuous statement.” Unless a partnership agreement is in place, the secondary ticket marketplace is also prohibited from claiming to be “affiliated with or endorsed by a venue, team, or artiste”.

Additionally prohibited are deceptive websites that might mislead ticket buyers. Unless the owner of the name gives permission, ticket providers are not allowed to use a domain name or subdomain that contains the name of a particular team, league, venue, performance, or artiste. Also, ticket sellers need to be upfront about their refunding policies.

 Just as the name of the bill implies, the STOP Act bans speculative ticketing, in effect barring primary and secondary ticketing marketplaces from selling tickets they do not possess.

Ticketmaster, one of the largest ticketing companies has welcomed the new measures according to information available online. 

The company released a statement saying, “We’ve long supported a federal all-in pricing mandate, along with other measures including banning speculative ticketing and deceptive websites that trick fans.” “We’ll keep collaborating with legislators, pushing for even more stringent regulations and enforcement to put an end to predatory behaviors that harm fans and artistes.”