Ticket Resale Debate

Apr 16, 2011

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would ease restrictions on companies that resell concert, theater and sports tickets online.  But opponents say that would hurt consumers.

Connecticut’s general prohibition on ticket scalping was repealed in 2007.  And in the past few years, a lucrative online secondary ticket-sellers market has flourished.  

John Breyault is vice president of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud with the National Consumers League. He says the proposal before Connecticut lawmakers would improve transparency and protect buyers.

"We think that consumers deserve a choice of where they want to go to buy their tickets or sell their tickets. And we think that there needs to be robust competition that helps keep the price of tickets in check."

But David Fay, president and CEO of Hartford’s Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts says consumers are often confused by misleading ticket resale websites that do just the opposite.

"To see tickets being sold at 3, 4, 5, 6 times their face value in an uninformed market where the buyer doesn’t know they can buy the same ticket for a fifth the price or something, that’s where we have a concern.  And nine times out of ten the guy who’s making the money in the middle doesn’t even live in the state of Connecticut."

The bill before Connecticut lawmakers would require venues to sell tickets that can be resold. So, for example, if you had a season subscription to the theater and couldn’t attend one show, you could resell your seats.

But critics caution that this bill will make it easier for unscrupulous online brokers to buy up large blocks of tickets and overcharge unsuspecting consumers.