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Published on July 3rd, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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This is interesting: The Ontario law placing a price cap on concert tickets has been deferred until…who knows?

Well, well. Could it be that someone in the Ontario Government came to their senses and is perhaps ready to remove the stupid and unenforceable 50% price cap on the sale of concert tickets on the secondary market?  It appears so.

(I’ve written extensively on the new legislation with much emphasis on how a price cap on a discretionary item like concert tickets will do nothing for the fan. In fact, it will make things worse. Much, much worse. You can read all my objections here and here.)

The new law, formally known as Ticket Sales Act, 2017, S.O. 2017, c. 33, Sched. 3 (rolls of the tongue, don’t it?) went into effect as scheduled on July 1. I refer you to Part II: Ticket Sales and Software:

Ticket Sales

Ticket sale on secondary market above face value

2 (1) Every person who makes a ticket available for sale on the secondary market or who facilitates the sale of a ticket on the secondary market for a total amount, including any applicable fees or service charges but excluding any applicable taxes, that exceeds the ticket’s face value shall provide one of the following guarantees or confirmations to the ticket purchaser.

1. A guarantee issued by a secondary seller or operator of a secondary ticketing platform of a full refund for the ticket purchaser if,

i. the event that the ticket provides admission to is cancelled before the ticket can be used,

ii. the ticket does not grant the ticket purchaser admission to the event for which it was issued, unless this failure is due to an action taken by the primary seller or venue after the ticket is sold,

iii. the ticket is counterfeit, or

iv. the ticket does not match its description as advertised or as represented to the ticket purchaser.

2. A confirmation from the primary seller that the ticket is valid, provided directly or indirectly through a service that offers to confirm for any person in Ontario, for free or for a single, standard fee, whether or not a ticket that was originally made available for sale by the primary seller is valid.

3. Any other prescribed guarantee or confirmation.

So far, so good. But hold on. What’s this?

Note: Subsection 2 (2) comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Maximum amount

(2) Despite subsection (1), no person shall make a ticket available for sale on the secondary market or facilitate the sale of a ticket on the secondary market for an amount, including any applicable fees or service charges but excluding any applicable taxes, that exceeds the ticket’s face value by more than 50 per cent of the ticket’s face value.

So the controversial price cap provision is still here but it has not been enacted. That part of the law won’t go into effect until the Lieutenant Governor says it does. This gives the new Ford administration a chance to step in to make changes, perhaps after further consultation with ticket sellers, ticket resellers, venues, and other interested parties.

In fact, it appears that between the time the Conservatives were sworn in on Friday, June 29, someone let it be known that officials needed to hold back on the date the price cap would go into effect. No press release was sent out. The information was simply displaced on the government’s website where it was completely ignored over the Canada Day long weekend.

Late Tuesday, Ford’s people had this to say: “The previous government attempted to institute a cap on ticket resales with no way to enforce that cap, resulting in less consumer protection.  We have paused the implementation of this section until we can review this provision in full to make sure it is in the best interest of Ontarians.” (Via FYIMusicnews.ca)

Meanwhile, all the other measures are now law.

  • The use of ticket-buying software bots is now illegal in Ontario.
  • Disclosure rules involving fees, taxes, and services charges.
  • Transparency laws around the maximum capacity of a venue
  • Guarantees regarding the location of the seat being sold.
  • Details on the powers of enforcement and adjudication.

Interesting, no? Let’s see how this all plays out with the new Conservative government. More reading at the CBC. There’s also this story at The Toronto Star.

(Thanks to Chris for the heads-up!)

 

 

 

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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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