New law to stop online resellers from misleading ticket buyers

WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

It can be disappointing missing out on tickets to a favourite artist or sports team. Some ticket buyers may even be willing to fork out hundreds of dollars extra to an online ticket reseller just to be able to go to the event.

There is some good news for consumers and their wallets with the Australian Government introducing a new event ticketing standard to help ticket buyers make informed decisions when purchasing tickets from online resellers for events across Australia.

Under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), online ticket resellers are now required to clearly disclose that they are a reseller and not a primary ticket provider, as well as the original price of tickets. They must also clearly display this information prominently on their website.

These new changes will complement the WA Ticket Scalping Act which came into effect on 10 September 2021, making it illegal for online resellers to sell most tickets to Western Australian events for more than 10 per cent over the original price. They also have to identify the location of the seat or viewing spot for each ticket.

Consumer Protection’s role over the last year since the new WA laws took effect has been enforcing the new measures by issuing notices to online resellers and investigating complaints received from consumers. Fines range from $20,000 for individuals and $100,000 for companies, with even higher penalties applying to those using ‘bots’ to purchase bulk tickets which is also illegal in WA.

Earlier this year, online ticket reseller Viagogo was named as being under investigation for possible breaches of the WA Ticket Scalping Act due to tickets on their website being sold illegally for more than 110 per cent of the original price.

While this investigation into Viagogo is ongoing, the introduction of the new Australian standard means WA ticket buyers can have more confidence that they are purchasing tickets for events across the country from online resellers at a fair price, and their usual consumer rights under the ACL will apply.

The best advice is to do your homework before purchasing tickets from an online reseller to ensure you will gain entry to the event. Buying tickets from overseas resellers can be risky. It is much safer to buy through an authorised Australian website using your credit card as it may be possible to get a chargeback if you do happen to buy a dud.

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