Image for Australian Senate Passes Motion Calling For Ticket Scalping Bots To Be BannedSouthbound 2016 / Photo: Stuart Millen

Australian Senate Passes Motion Calling For Ticket Scalping Bots To Be Banned

Written by Tom Williams on March 21, 2017

A motion has passed the Australian Senate calling for legislative reform which would ban ticket scalping bots and better protect consumers from ruthless ticket scalpers.

Despite not winning the Government’s support, the motion, which was introduced by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon on Monday, passed the Senate with the support of the Opposition, the Greens and Senators Jacqui Lambie and Derryn Hinch.

The motion calls on the Australian Government to pass legislation which would outlaw the use of ticket bots, much like the United States has, in order to stop scalpers from securing tickets and advertising them on resale sites at exuberant prices.

Senator Xenophon, who is now drafting legislation similar to the US’ BOTS Act, says Australian consumers need better protection from scalpers.

“Genuine Australian fans are being unfairly deprived of tickets because ticket scalpers are using automated systems to buy a bulk of tickets when they are released. They’re then on-selling them for massive amounts to those that missed out,” he says.

“It’s a clear cornering of a market that hurts consumers. Of course consumers need to be aware of the risk of resale sites, but they can easily be misled from the feedback I have been getting.”

Australia’s ticket scalping laws are currently implemented on a state-by-state basis, but Senator Xenophon believes they should be enforced at the federal level. Read his full motion to the Senate, below.

A number of popular Australian tours have recently seen tickets resold for many times their original price, including for local shows by Midnight Oil, Adele, Justin Bieber and Crowded House.

Popular ticket reselling websites Ticketmaster Resale and Viagogo were referred to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) earlier this month, after an investigation by consumer advocacy group CHOICE found they were also taking part in “dodgy pricing practices”.

Nick Xenophon’s Senate Motion (20/03/17)

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) ticket scalping and the use of software to bypass computer security systems to purchase large numbers of tickets has a detrimental impact on genuine fans who often miss out or have to pay hugely inflated prices for events,

(ii) while there is a benefit in having a secondary market place for consumers to on-sell tickets when they have a legitimate reason to do so, many consumers are not aware that they are buying from a secondary market site as the business practices of many of those sites have the potential to mislead or deceive consumers in relation to their purchase, resulting in consumers purchasing tickets that are not genuine or at a vastly inflated price,

(iii) consumers are generally not able to rely on statutory consumer protections when they purchase tickets from secondary market sites,

(iv) in December 2016, the United States Congress passed the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016 which makes it illegal to use software to purchase tickets to popular events,

(v) the United Kingdom Government is also considering measures that would criminalise the misuse of “bot” technology to unlawfully obtain tickets to events,

(vi) the United Kingdom’s Consumer Rights Act requires that key details of tickets offered for resale should be given at the time of resale, including the face value of the ticket, seating area, as well as any restrictions that apply, but Australian consumers have no such protections,

(vii) the Senate Economics References Committee, in its report on ticket scalping in Australia tabled in the Senate in March 2014, identified the negative impact ticket scalping has on consumers, and

(viii) despite the findings of the Senate Economics References Committee, the Government has not made any substantive changes to address the issues identified in the report; and

(b) The Senate calls on the Government to introduce legislation to better protect customers from ticket scalpers, following the example of the USA with their Better Online Ticket Sales Act 2016, and the UK with the relevant provisions of their Consumer Rights Act and other measures under consideration by the UK Government.

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