Welcome to Consumer Reports Advocacy

For 85 years CR has worked for laws and policies that put consumers first. Learn more about CR’s work with policymakers, companies, and consumers to help build a fair and just marketplace at TrustCR.org

New York OKs bill to protect event ticket buyers from hidden fees and other unfair practices that drive up prices

Consumer Reports urges Governor Hochul to sign bill requiring full disclosure up front of all fees and service charges for events 

ALBANY, NY – Consumer Reports praised New York lawmakers today for passing a bill that requires event ticket sellers to disclose all fees and service charges up front to consumers.  The bill introduced by Senator James Skoufis and Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell 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.

“Hidden fees can increase the price of an event ticket by as much as 30 to 40 percent,” said Chuck Bell, advocacy programs director for Consumer Reports. “These common sense consumer protections for ticket buyers are long overdue and will help ensure pricing is fair and transparent.  Consumer Reports thanks Assembly Member O’Donnell and Senator Skoufis for their leadership in passing this important bill.  We urge Governor Hochul to sign this measure into law so ticket sellers can no longer hide extra fees until the very end of the ticket buying process.”

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.”

S. 9461/A.10500 extends New York’s existing consumer protections on ticketing with important additions. Most importantly, it would ban hidden fees and require “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, clarifies refund requirements, and bans speculative sales of tickets in which brokers sell tickets they do not yet own.

“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 bill will help prevent price gouging and give all New Yorkers a better chance of purchasing event tickets at affordable prices.”

Michael McCauley, michael.mccauley@consumer.org, 415-902-9537