The Federal Trade Commission announced that a planned workshop in Washington, D.C. aimed at examining consumer protection issues related to the online event ticket marketplace has been rescheduled for June 11, 2019 due to the government shutdown. (The workshop’s original date was March 27.)
The workshop will feature opening remarks by FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and will bring together a variety of stakeholders, including industry representatives, consumer advocates, trade associations, academics and government officials, to discuss certain practices in the online event ticket marketplace. The FTC has indicated that the online event ticket industry has been a frequent topic of consumer and competitor complaints, with the issues arising in connection with online ticket sales frequently involving practices that prevent consumers from obtaining tickets, mislead consumers about price or availability, or mislead consumers about the entity from which they are purchasing. (In April 2018, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report titled “Event Ticket Sales: Market Characteristics and Consumer Protection Issues.”)
According to the FTC’s original announcement, the workshop will look at the current state of the online event ticket marketplace, shed light on industry-wide advertising and pricing issues, and explore ways to address deception beyond traditional law enforcement. The topics that will be covered include:
- Primary market ticketing: transparency and lack of ticket availability; ticket bots and the Better Online Ticket Sales Act (BOTS Act).
- Resale ticket market: disclosures of pricing, fees, and speculative tickets; consumer confusion regarding search engine advertisements and websites of resellers versus official primary ticket sellers.
Ballard Spahr partner Scott Pearson will be participating in a panel addressing these and other ticketing issues at a Sports Lawyers Association event in Brooklyn, New York on February 25, 2019. The panel will be followed by the Nets-Spurs game. For information about the event, click here.