US President Joe Biden has proposed legislation to address the issue of “junk fees” on concert tickets, following a US Congress hearing on controversies such as Ticketmaster’s handling of Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras’ tour presale.
Biden is taking action to regulate sky-high ticket fees with the introduction of The Junk Fee Prevention Act. Last week’s Senate hearing spotlighted Live Nation President Joe Berchtold over their botched Taylor Swift pre-sale, and Senator Amy Klobuchar pointed out that competitive forces are not sufficiently controlling these costs.
A GAO study revealed service charges on major venues averaged at more than 20%, up to 50% of face value prices in extreme cases. These findings will inform the initiative as it heads into a February 1st meeting before Congress deliberates adoption legislation for The Junk Fee Prevention Act later this year.
In a statement, Ticketmaster said:
Ticketmaster strongly supports ticketing reforms that will benefit artists and fans, prevent fraud, and clean up fraudulent practices in resale markets. These basic steps should be the things everyone agrees on, including mandating all-in pricing and outlawing speculative ticketing. We stand ready to work with the President and Congress on many common sense ticketing reforms, while also speaking out against proposed legislation that would benefit scalpers over artists and fans.
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The Junk Fee Prevention Act also seeks to protect families, travellers and holidaymakers by outlawing airlines charging extra fees for seating together and capping hotel ‘destination’ or ‘resort fees’.
In a further statement, the Biden administration said:
Many online ticket sellers impose massive service fees at check-out that are not disclosed when consumers are choosing their tickets.
In a review of 31 different sporting events across five ticket sellers’ websites”, it continued, “service charges averaged more than 20% of the ticket’s face value, and total fees – like processing fees, delivery fees, and facility fees – reached up to more than half the cost of the ticket itself. A family of four attending a show could end up paying far more than $100 in fees above and beyond the cost of the tickets.”
Often, if Americans want to attend a particular concert or sporting event, they only have one online option for making the initial ticket purchase.
That means that even if consumers knew they might have to pay a large fee on top of the ticket cost, they would have no way to avoid it if they wanted to attend a particular show. One company has exclusive partnerships with a reported 80 of the top 100 arenas in the United States, allowing it to charge fees to attend events at those leading venues without fear of competition.
NEW: Joe Biden calls on Congress to pass the Junk Fee Protection act, which bans hidden resort fees at hotels, prevents phone and internet providers from tacking on early termination costs, and lowers fees that companies like Ticketmaster add to concert and sports tickets. pic.twitter.com/5MM4pozYdc
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) February 1, 2023
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