Public calls for price cap on resold tickets, cracking down on bots

WATCH: The NDP government is promising it will get easier for British Columbians to catch their favourite bands, but as Richard Zussman reports some don't believe the measures go far enough.

The B.C. government is looking at capping the price of resold event tickets and cracking down on ticket purchasing bots following an extensive public consultation into the ticket selling industry.

Those are two of the most popular ideas the provincial government heard from the public and are now part of the report Ticket Buying in British Columbia, released on Monday.

There is near unanimous support to crack down on bots, with 97 per cent of respondents supporting the idea.


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“If tickets were purchased using bots, participants strongly supported their cancellation,” reads the report. “There is a moderate support for the prosecution of individuals or organizations using bots to purchase tickets (51 per cent).”

Capping prices was the second most popular course of action from the public with 83 per cent siding with putting a top-end price on tickets. The most popular option was to make the cap 25 per cent above the ticketed price.

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“Those under age 45 were more likely than their older counterparts to support a prohibition on resale mark-ups,” reads the report.

But there are concerns about how price capping would work. Manitoba is the only province that currently has a price cap. Alberta and Quebec didn’t proceed with a price cap in their recent changes. The new government in Ontario is delaying the implementation of a price cap in Ontario and could scrap it as part of the province’s legislation.

One of the challenges with cracking down on setting a cap price is that some primary sellers, like the Vancouver Canucks, have dynamic pricing. That means ticket prices could change, based on demand, right up until puck drops.


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“You can’t cap resale tickets because there are two different markets. There is the primary selling that has dynamic pricing that can put whatever price they want based on what the market will bear, and then there is the ticket re-seller who have taken tickets from clients and are reselling them based on what the market will bear,” said Kingsley Bailey, owner of vancouverticket.com. “You are penalizing the reseller from getting what the market will bear, but the primary you are allowing them to basically enforce their control.”

The province will not use the public consultation to prepare legislation. The B.C. government is also considering banning ticket sales on the secondary market before they are available to the public, requiring ticket sellers to provide certain information to the public and requiring secondary sellers to provide refunds in certain situations.

What We Heard Report – Ticket Buying and Selling – Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General by Richard Zussman on Scribd

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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