Legislation would bring give concertgoers & sports fans transparency about the marketing, distribution, and pricing of tickets
[WASHINGTON, DC] – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) introduced the BOSS and SWIFT Act, legislation to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices in the primary and secondary ticket marketplaces. Named after Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift, and fans of other artists and teams who have faced outrageous prices, long wait times, site crashes, and other disruptions, the legislation would require sellers to be transparent about base prices, added fees, the distribution of tickets, and refund policies.
“This measure will be a major step toward stopping all the hidden fees and exorbitant prices that have plagued concertgoers for far too long,” said Blumenthal. “Ticket buyers now face sky-high junk charges or shut outs by scalpers and secondary sellers. These standards bring fairness and transparency to fans, artists, and venues who power this industry.”
“For too long, ticket sellers have employed deceptive fees and practices to maximize profits at consumers’ expense,” said Hirono. “It’s time to crack down on this anti-hero behavior, which is exactly what the BOSS and SWIFT Act will do. By requiring ticket sellers to act with transparency, this legislation will protect consumers, helping them enjoy the best day at their favorite concerts, games, and performances.”
“Concert-goers know the story all too well—for decades, tickets have continued to skyrocket at the hands of greedy corporations,” said Markey. “The BOSS and SWIFT Act will make sure that music fans, including Swifties, can access tickets at affordable prices—all while holding corporations accountable for pinching their pockets. I thank Senator Blumenthal for making sure that Ticketmaster and the rest of the ticket industry have stopped fans from seeing their favorite artists for the last time.”
The Better Oversight of Stub Sales and Strengthening Well Informed and Fair Transactions for Audiences of Concert Ticketing Act would;
The legislation would also give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general enforcement authority, and allow consumers to seek private rights of action for damages and harms caused by those who violate the standards.
The BOSS and SWIFT Act has been introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ).
The legislation is endorsed by the National Consumers League, Sports Fan Coalition, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, FanFreedom Project, and the Progressive Policy Institute, and the National Association of Consumer Advocates.
“Buying a ticket to see your favorite artist, sports team, or Broadway show should not be an exercise in frustration,” said John Breyault, National Consumers League Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud. “Unfortunately, the average fan is at the mercy of a rigged system that makes it nearly impossible to get access to affordable tickets for popular events. And even when fans are able to find tickets to buy, hidden fees can more than double the cost to attend the event. The BOSS and SWIFT ACT is the common-sense solution fans need to bring sanity to the live event ticketing industry.”
“Sports fans across the country have been crying out for reforms,” said Brian Hess, Executive Director of Sports Fans Coalition. “The BOSS and SWIFT Act is the most holistic proposal we've seen introduced and we commend Senator Blumenthal for tackling this difficult subject in such a thoughtful and pro-consumer manner. The BOSS and SWIFT Act is the best representation of the Ticket Buyer Bill of Rights that we've seen, and will ensure strong consumer protections while protecting a competitive marketplace. The introduction of the BOSS and SWIFT Act in the Senate makes this bill the only bicameral comprehensive live event ticketing reform proposal in Congress.”
“The BOSS and SWIFT Act will crack open the ticket buying market, ensuring that consumers know the total cost of tickets—fees and all—for concerts and sporting events, and what their rights are to a refund,” said Ruth Susswein, Consumer Action’s Director of Consumer Protection.
“The time is long overdue to bring transparency, fairness and competition back to the live event ticketing marketplace,” said Erin Witte, Director of Consumer Protection at Consumer Federation of America. “The BOSS and SWIFT Act will level the playing field for consumers and ensure that they can enjoy these events without being deceived and overcharged in the purchase process.”
“While legislatures across the country grapple with the opaque and ever-changing world that is live event ticketing, we welcome the BOSS and SWIFT Act and some direction from Congress that protects everyone seeking to buy and transfer tickets,” said Chris VanDeHoef, the President of the FanFreedom Project. “The BOSS and SWIFT Act is a giant step towards providing consumer protection to ticket buyers everywhere and we encourage Congress to see this through.”
“The BOSS and SWIFT Act is a big step forward in promoting competition in live events ticketing and protecting fans,” said Diana Moss, Vice President and Director of Competition Policy for the Progressive Policy Institute. “We commend Senator Blumenthal for taking the lead on promoting transparency in ticketing and creating a strong legislative framework for tackling transparency problems. Many of which are the result of Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s efforts to maintain its dominance in the live events markets. This legislation will constructively bootstrap hoped-for antitrust enforcement in this space.”
“Under the Boss and Swift Act, we will move a step closer to increasing protections for concertgoers, providing them with more information and options as they navigate through the often obscure and mysterious ticket buying process,” said Christine Hines, legislative director at the National Association of Consumer Advocates. “To achieve meaningful accountability when ticket buyers are wronged in the market, the bill should also ensure that they can choose how to resolve disputes with powerful sellers and venues by prohibiting forced arbitration in the terms and conditions.”
Text of the Senate bill can be found here.