Consumer Protection

Friday, March 29, 2013


California Legislative Alerts:

On this page, Consumer Action highlights important California legislation and other state issues relating to consumer protection.


NEW: AB 329 Would Preserve Fans' Ticket Rights

A new consumer-unfriendly kind of ticket is being pushed by Ticketmaster, known as a "restricted ticket," which bans consumers from giving tickets to family or friends, or from reselling unused tickets that would go to waste. Events that use this system eliminate paper and e-tickets. Instead, you must swipe the credit card used to buy a ticket and a matching state ID to enter an event. That means the person who bought the ticket must be at the gate – even if they’re not attending the show – and everyone in that person’s party must arrive at the same time for any of them to be admitted. AB 329 (Pan, D-Sacramento) would put the brakes on this practice and make it unlawful for any ticket issuer to prohibit or restrict consumers from giving away, donating or reselling tickets.

Ticketmaster and other ticket sellers push restricted ticketing systems under the guise of protecting fans from scalpers. The core motivation, however, is Ticketmaster’s desire to control every step of the distribution process--and consumers suffer as a result.

For example, Rick Doctrow of San Francisco bought two tickets to see Thom Yorke (of Radiohead) on back-to-back nights at the Fox Theater in Oakland. The restricted tickets – in the last row of the upper balcony – cost roughly $150 for the pair. Doctrow loves Thom Yorke, so he made the purchase, although the seats were nosebleeds. A couple weeks later, Ticketmaster released tickets for the front row of the balcony, so he purchased two of these as well. What he realized too late was, because the tickets were restricted, he had no way to sell off the first pair or even to give them to a friend. Doctrow ended up paying twice as much for his tickets because Ticketmaster was neither transparent about what tickets were available, nor about how purchased tickets could not be resold or given away. Since the show sold out, two other fans of Thom Yorke missed the show when Doctrow’s extra tickets were wasted.

If Ticketmaster’s anti-consumer business practices go unchecked, fans in California face having no control over the tickets they buy and being made subject to even higher fees. We believe consumers own their tickets and should be able to do what they want with them.

To write to your lawmaker about AB 329, click here to use our California Action Tools.






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