Rep. Matt Gaetz: My legislation targeting ticket market is fan-friendly

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The following is a guest post from Rep. Matt Gaetz:

I’m disappointed by the misinformation in the Tampa Tribune‘s recent editorial on ticketing legislation. Contrary to the editorial, which was prepared without consulting me or any of the legislation’s supporters, this bill ensures that consumers are informed and their property rights are protected in the ticket market.

The truth is that HB 225 will protect consumers from unfair practices used by ticket sellers such as Ticketmaster, including restrictions on what fans can do with tickets they have purchased, and will require more transparency from ticket sellers who are using publicly funded venues while often pre-selling thousands of the best tickets to favored customers.

With regard to transparency, HB 225 will simply require event producers and ticket issuers to publicly disclose how many seats are actually available for sale when ticket sales commence.

Similar to the rule requiring auto dealers to disclose how many cars they have available at an advertised price, this is a fair, pro-consumer practice that should be non-controversial.

Unfortunately, big ticket sellers often pre-sell thousands of tickets to VIPs, premium credit card holders, fan club members and event sponsors. As a result, fans don’t have access to the best seats and don’t know why they can get only nosebleed seats or why the event sells out so quickly. Ticket issuers oppose this bill because they don’t want fans to know how few tickets are made available to the general public.

HB 225 also addresses the growing problem of restrictive tickets, particularly paperless tickets that require fans to show photo ID and their purchasing credit card to gain entry to an event.

These restrictive tickets prohibit fans from giving away or reselling tickets on the secondary market, taking away consumers’ property rights. Tickets can’t be given as gifts, and fans who paid for tickets but cannot attend an event are unable to recoup their loss or allow a friend or family member to go in their place.

Some restrictive tickets can be transferred, but only on the ticket seller’s own resale website. These restrictive resale websites almost always prohibit resale of tickets

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.