New push to protect concert, sporting event ticket buyers

WASHINGTON — Instead of losing hundreds of dollars on tickets, laws are on the books in New York and Colorado that give “property rights” to consumers if they buy a ticket to a concert or sporting event and end up not being able to attend that event.

The idea is to end restrictive ticket policies and protect resale rights for consumers.

The New York and Colorado laws allow consumers to resell the ticket or even give it away instead of having to eat the cost.

Ticket giants such as Ticketmaster have restrictions make it difficult to resell the ticket or give it away.

Similar “property rights” ticket legislation recently passed in Virginia and is waiting on the governor’s signature.

In Maryland, legislation has been introduced; a Senate hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Chris Van DeHoef, director of Fan Freedom, a consumer-based organization that fights for the rights of ticket owners, said the bill currently pending in Maryland would allow consumers the option of purchasing an unrestricted ticket without penalty or extra cost.

“Fan Freedom simply believes that when a consumer purchases a ticket to an event that ticket is their property,” Van DeHoef said. “And in an event that something arises and they can’t attend the event or go to the event that they can then give away the ticket, they can transfer the ticket, they can resell the ticket. Whatever works best for their particular situation.”

Van DeHoef said that, normally, tickets to concerts and sporting events are sold months and months ahead of time. But sometimes issues arise that prevent a person from attending.

“So right now, if you were to purchase a restricted ticket from Ticketmaster, you would not even be able to give that ticket away if you were unable to attend a concert or transfer it or resell it. You would simply be out that money,” Van DeHoef said.

He said Fan Freedom is pushing for similar legislation across the country.

There are similar bills in Alabama, Missouri and Connecticut.

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