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Bill Cracks Down On Reselling Tickets

A measure that would tighten up the rules for reselling certain kinds tickets is makings its way through the House, but  some are raising concerns it could end up hurting instead of helping consumers

Representative Daniel Raulerson, a Republican from Plant City, said his bill ,House bill 1353, gives more teeth to rules that prohibit the resale of some tickets by ramping up penalties. And it gives entities that sell tickets like amusement parks the freedom to use any form of ticket like a wristband or electronic ticket. Raulerson said his bill protects consumers. But Florida Consumer Action Network Spokesman, Bill Newton, said he finds the legislation to be anti-consumer, said he has concerns it will create the opportunity for monopolies in the ticket industry.

“And as consumers, we just don’t like monopolies. You know, when you drive by a place and there’s only one place to buy a ticket and you have to pay whatever they want…that’s a monopoly and we’re pretty uncomfortable with it," Newton said.

Newton said two provisions in the bill pose a serious threat to consumer rights. One of those is language saying a ticket may be revoked at any time for any reason. Newton said that would allow officials to kick a person out of a theme park, or concert for any reason, even beyond justifiable causes like getting into a fight.  And Newton said he’s also concerned about the provision letting companies use any form of ticket—or what Newton calls “restrictive tickets.”

“Almost everyone has to miss an event sometime. You get sick, or whatever. And restricted tickets are very anti-consumer because they prohibit or limit an individual’s ability to give tickets to friends or family or to resell them on the secondary market. I can also say that as a non-profit organization, it would stop our ability to receive or transfer donated tickets for fundraising purposes,” Newton said.

But Representative Raulerson, the bill’s author, said his bill wouldn’t limit the ability for someone to transfer their ticket.

That argument, and I’ve learned a new term up here, what is it? Germane? That argument is not germae to this bill,” Raulerson said.

Raulerson said he doesn’t think the government should be telling businesses in what form their tickets must be sold.  A number of lawmakers in the committee said they hope the bill will continue to get tweaked as it moves forward, but the measure passed out of the committee. It has two more committees to go before reaching the House floor.

Follow @Regan_McCarthy

Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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