'Hidden' Ticket Surcharges Ban Passes US House Of Representatives

17 May 2024 | 11:01 am | Mary Varvaris

Along with speculative ticket selling - Sorry, Viagogo.

Billie Eilish in Sydney

Billie Eilish in Sydney (Credit: Matty Vogel)

This week, the US House of Representatives passed a new bill, Transparency in Charges for Key Events Ticketing (TICKET) Act, which would force ticket merchants to exhibit the total price of tickets, including “hidden” fees, upfront.

The bill passed on Wednesday (15 May), with the House of Representatives showing bipartisan support of 388-24.

Next up, the bill goes to the Senate. If it becomes law, the practice of “speculative ticketing” – meaning, service providers that sell tickets they haven’t actually purchased – would also be banned, Music Business Worldwide reports.

In a joint statement, House representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Republican - Washington), Frank Pallone, Jr. (Democrat - New Jersey), and Gus Bilirakis (Republican - Florida) commented, “After years of bipartisan work, we will now be able to enhance the customer experience of buying event tickets online.

“We look forward to continuing to work together to urge quick Senate passage so that we can send it to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”

Dana McLean, the Executive Director of the Coalition for Ticket Fairness (CTF), said in an NBC News interview, “It'll make the buying process better for fans; they'll have more information, and that's really what the CTF stands for: transparency and consumer choice.”

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Last week, the sale of speculative tickets was banned in Maryland and in Minnesota, ticket sellers were recently ordered to disclose all the fees included with ticket prices.

The TICKET act follows global ticketing giants Live Nation and Ticketmaster introducing “all-in” pricing for their events last year, meaning that ticketholders in the US will no longer receive surprise fees when they purchase tickets for any entertainment event.

The new decision was revealed at the White House after President Joe Biden vowed to end “hidden junk fees – like processing fees on concert tickets” in November 2022.

Moves towards ticket price transparency in the US began in November 2022 after Ticketmaster shockingly crashed due to unprecedented demand as the pre-sale for Taylor Swift’s massive Eras tour commenced.

Some fans reportedly waited eight hours in the pre-sale and were charged multiple times as the platform crashed, making it impossible for fans to purchase tickets. Many fans claimed they could not access the sale even with the pre-sale code.