B.C. ticket sales act aims to crack down on online scalping

Companies that violate B.C.'s proposed ticket sales act could face fines of up to $100,000 | Shutterstock

What happened: Province introducing legislation to ban ticket bots, mass-buying software

What it means: Scalpers could face penalties of up to $100,000

The B.C. government hopes new legislation will make digital scalping practices as scarce as tickets to an Ed Sheeran concert.

The province’s proposed ticket sales act would ban ticket bots and mass-buying software, as well as force scalpers to compensate ticket purchasers if convicted in court of violating the legislation.

"The new laws will make the ticket buying process more transparent and equitable for consumers, so that everyone in our province will have a fair chance of getting tickets for their favourite acts and events,” Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said in a statement April 9, the day the legislation was introduced.

If passed, the ticket sales act would also require transparent disclosure of prices, refund guarantees by secondary sellers and ticketing platforms, and would allow consumers to take civil action if they feel they’ve suffered losses.

Individuals who violate the law could face penalties of $10,000, while companies could face penalties of $100,000.

The government said the legislation wouldn’t aim to crack down on consumer-to-consumer transactions, but instead focus on those who sell tickets as a business.

This comes following a consultation in March 2018 that drew responses from 6,500 British Columbians.

The report that followed in August found that there was public support for a price cap on resold ticket as well as a ban on ticket sales on the secondary market before they’re made available on the primary market.

The report found that 98% of respondents purchased tickets online, while 90.4% reported facing difficulties buying tickets from a primary seller.