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New York Governor signs bill to protect event ticket buyers from hidden fees and other unfair practices into law

Consumer Reports praises Governor Hochul and the legislature for new law  requiring full disclosure upfront of all fees and service charges for events into law

ALBANY, NY – Consumer Reports applauded New York Governor Hochul today for signing a bill that requires event ticket sellers to disclose all fees and service charges upfront to consumers when the ticket price is first presented. The new law, which was sponsored by Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell and Senator James Skoufis, includes other measures that will protect consumers from unfair ticket seller practices that can make it difficult to obtain tickets and result in higher prices for concerts, sporting events, and Broadway shows.

“Under this new law, ticket buyers can rest assured that pricing for concerts, sporting events and shows will be more transparent and fair,” said Chuck Bell, advocacy programs director for Consumer Reports. “New York is the first state in the nation to require upfront, “all-in” pricing for live event tickets, ensuring that consumers will be able to see the full cost of the ticket at the outset of the transaction. Consumer Reports commends Governor Hochul for signing this common-sense consumer protection bill into law, and we thank Assembly Member O’Donnell and Senator Skoufis for their leadership in passing this critical legislation.”

In December 2016, the National Economic Council issued a report, The Competition Initiative and Hidden Fees, which notes that these fees are generally structured “in order to drive down the perceived price and lure consumers to make purchasing decisions based on misinformation” and are, at worst “fraudulent or deceptive; at a minimum, they make prices unclear, hinder effective consumer decision making, and dull the competitive process.” When purchasing tickets, buyers faced hidden fees that increased the price by as much as 30 to 40 percent.

A.10500/S.9461 extends New York’s existing consumer protections on ticketing with important additions. As mentioned above, it bans hidden fees and requires “all-in pricing” for all ticketing. The bill also strengthens penalties against the use of automated ticket-buying “bot” software to sweep up massive amounts of tickets for resale at inflated prices.

“Software bots enable resellers to buy tickets in bulk at lightning speed and then turn around and sell them on resale platforms at a huge markup,” said Bell. “This new law will help prevent price gouging and give New Yorkers a better chance of purchasing event tickets at affordable prices.”

Contact: Emily Akpan, emily.akpan@consumer.org