Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Friday, October 5, 2018

FTC to Hold Workshop Examining Online Event Ticket Sales

The staff of the Federal Trade Commission will examine consumer protection and competition issues related to the online event-ticket marketplace at a public workshop on March 27, 2019. The online event ticket industry has been a frequent topic of consumer and competitor complaints, and FTC staff is seeking public input in advance of the workshop, including possible discussion topics and potential participants.

The workshop will feature opening remarks by Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and will bring together a variety of stakeholders, including industry representatives, consumer advocates, trade associations, academics and government officials, to discuss problematic practices in the online event ticket marketplace.

The Commission has a strong interest in protecting consumer confidence in the online marketplace. Issues that frequently arise in connection with online event ticket sales include practices that prevent consumers from obtaining tickets, mislead consumers about price or availability, or mislead consumers about the entity from which they are purchasing. The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently issued a report summarizing these issues. The workshop will discuss the current state of the online event ticket marketplace, shed light on industry-wide advertising and pricing issues, and explore ways to address deception beyond traditional law enforcement.

Topics this workshop will cover include:

Primary market ticketing:

  • Transparency and lack of ticket availability.
  • Ticket bots and the Better Online Ticket Sales Act (BOTS Act).

Resale ticket market:

  • Disclosures of pricing, fees, and speculative tickets.
  • Consumer confusion regarding search engine advertisements and websites of resellers versus official primary ticket sellers.

FTC staff invites comments from the public on issues related to the online event ticket marketplace, including possible discussion topics. FTC staff will accept submissions through December 5, 2018, electronically at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/onlineeventticketsworkshop or in written form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, write “Online Event Ticket Workshop” on your comment and on the envelope and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite CC-5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street, SW, 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20024.

FTC staff has set up an email box, tickets@ftc.gov, for suggestions regarding potential workshop participants.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/antitrustprof_blog/2018/10/ftc-to-hold-workshop-examining-online-event-ticket-sales.html

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