Ticket scalpers employ bots, syndicates
Can't get a ticket to a game or concert? Ticket scalpers using bot technology or buying syndicates may have beaten you to it, reports Ben Grubb.PT1M35S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2ss3u 620 349 August 29, 2013
The NSW government has rejected claims that new laws designed to crack down on scalpers will deny a second market to people who need to sell tickets they cannot use.
The new laws, announced on Wednesday, will enable event organisers to cancel any ticket that's resold in breach of its terms and conditions.
[The proposed reforms] will send NSW back to the Wild West where people had to take their chances buying from shady people in pubs, car parks and outside venues.Secondary ticket market Viagogo
NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts said the laws would require anyone reselling tickets to include information including a seat's number and row.
Those onselling tickets would also have to flag whether they're doing so in breach of terms and conditions.
Mr Roberts said if requested, operators of secondary markets, such as internet sites, would have to remove items from sale that breach these rules.
“These new laws will improve transparency in the marketplace, protect consumers and allow the event organiser to enforce their terms and conditions to protect genuine fans from ticket scalping and fraud,” he said.
Sports organisations welcomed the reforms, saying they put fans first and empowered event organisers.
The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS) said the proposed laws would introduce fairness and transparency to the ticket resale market while still allowing genuine consumers to resell.
"COMPPS members have long been united in the belief that ticket scalping is a scourge on the game that leaves everyday sports fans short changed," it said.
The Frontier Touring Company and Ticketek Australia also said they supported the reforms.
But online auction sites have slammed the move, saying people should have the right to lawfully sell their tickets.
eBay said the new laws were "masked as a solution" to prevent scalping when the real issue was "the actual distribution of tickets and the fees and charges added to the final price of tickets".
This week's NRL final was an example of how distribution and limited buyback schemes were limiting consumer rights, spokeswoman Meg English said.
"The proposed legislation is likely to drive a black market, sending tickets to the street, rather than on trusted and transparent platforms like eBay," she said.
Another site, Viagogo, said the reforms "won't work and will simply increase fraud by pushing people back to the black market".
"Regulations on the sale of tickets do not protect consumers," it said. "Instead, they will send NSW back to the Wild West where people had to take their chances buying from shady people in pubs, car parks and outside venues."
But Mr Roberts said the laws would protect consumers.
"The NSW government understands there is a need for a secondary ticket marketplace for people who can no longer attend an event but need to sell their ticket," he said.
"These measures will give greater protection and transparency for consumers with minimal cost and disruption for event organisers."
State Opposition Leader John Robertson said the proposed laws risked leaving people "significantly worse off than they are now".
He accused the government of rushing through its legislation and not consulting with the industry and community.
The laws come after a year in which tickets have been sold on secondary online markets such as eBay, Gumtree and on the Swiss-based Viagogo for highly inflated prices almost immediately after events sell out, which can often occur within minutes for big-name artists. Tickets for the most desirable seats almost always get snapped up in the first few minutes, and are a prime target for scalpers.
Fairfax Media recently reported that people buying event tickets were often competing against high-tech scalpers who siphoned off popular live tickets using purchasing syndicates and software "bots".
Last month, Australian ticketing providers Ticketmaster and Ticketek both confirmed bots were being used in Australia, but would not say how big a role they played in depriving event-goers of fair-priced tickets.
According to The New York Times, bots have been used to buy more than 60 per cent of the most desirable tickets for some shows on Ticketmaster's US website.
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