State Official Weighs In On Ticket Resale Proposal

Mar 1, 2012

TicketNetwork has pulled out of Connecticut’s First Five economic development program.  The news comes after the recent arrest of Don Vaccaro, CEO of the South Windsor-based company. Vaccaro has been charged with a hate crime and has taken an indefinite leave from TicketNetwork.

Meanwhile, Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection has just submitted to lawmakers its analysis of the ticket sales industry, and its view on a controversial proposal to change ticket sale laws in the state. 

The bill introduced last year would have required entertainment and sports venues to only sell tickets that could be resold. 

Hartford’s Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and Live Nation Entertainment were among the presenters who opposed the idea, and at a public hearing on the bill the Bushnell’s CEO voiced his opposition. Then, TicketNetwork said it would sue the Bushnell’s CEO over his comments. That prompted state lawmakers to abruptly pull the bill from consideration,  and request an objective analysis of the ticket resale industry. 

Last week, the Department of Consumer Protection submitted its findings. Commissioner William Rubenstein:

"Our ultimate recommendation is that new legislation is not currently needed. The committee to whom we’ve written a letter has decided not to move legislation forward on ticket issues this year."

Rubenstein says his office has received more than 120 complaints about online ticket sales, mainly from consumers who’ve been deceived by resale websites that look nearly identical to box office websites.

And they’ve paid a high price – sometimes 3, 4 or 5 times the face value of a seat.

Rubenstein says many of the problems could be resolved by full and honest disclosure.

"We think that ticket exchanges, the StubHubs, TicketsNow and TicketNetworks etc. of the world have a responsibility to take a very active role in assuring that the appropriate disclosures are made and that consumers understand the transaction they’re entering into."

But until they do, Rubenstein says its buyer beware.