Tickets, parties and events

There are laws for the operation of the event industry and ticket reselling in NSW, so consumers are safe to buy tickets and event packages while their rights are protected.

Parties, ticketed events and entertainment are supposed to be fun. This page explains:

Your consumer rights

Australian Consumer Law guarantees your rights when you buy goods and services. In fact, most products and services purchased after 1 January 2011 come with an automatic consumer guarantee that the product or service you purchased will work and do what you asked for. This includes ticketing, party and event services.

Acceptable quality

When you engage a business to provide a service, you have the right to expect ‘acceptable quality’. Services must be:

  • provided with due care or skill (taking all necessary steps to avoid loss and damage)
  • fit for any specified purpose (express or implied)
  • provided in a reasonable time (when no time is set).

What is ‘reasonable’ will depend on the nature of the service, the difficulty of the task and other relevant factors.

Proof of purchase and documentation

You have the right to receive proof of purchase (like an invoice, cash register receipt, handwritten receipt or lay-by agreement). Suppliers must provide proof of purchase for goods and services worth $75 or more (excluding GST).

Phone and internet services in Australia are supplied under a contract. A written copy of the contract (including its terms and conditions) must be supplied to you. Keep this for your records and in case you need to refer to the contract terms during a dispute. For more information, refer to our contracts page.

If the service has a warranty, it will give you some extra protection against faults. Warranties generally have terms and conditions attached - it’s your responsibility to be aware of these.

Advertising

Advertising can be a powerful means of persuasion, so it’s important it is truthful, accurate and easy to understand. Australian Consumer Law protects consumers from deceptive advertising claims and conduct.

Businesses are not allowed to make false or misleading representations about their products or services. This includes advertising for phone and internet services.

Learn more about advertising standards.

Remedy when things go wrong

You are entitled to an appropriate remedy from the business when the product or service you purchased does not meet one or more of the consumer guarantees.

This might be a refund, a further service to rectify the problem and in some cases, reimbursement for damages and consequential loss. The type of remedy will depend on whether the problem is minor or major.

The type of remedy will depend on whether the problem is minor or major:

Minor problem

If the problem is minor and can be fixed, the business can choose how to fix the problem. You cannot cancel and demand a refund immediately. Instead, you must give the business an opportunity to fix the problem. However, if repairs take too long, you can get someone else to fix the problem and ask the business to pay reasonable costs or cancel the service and get a refund.

If the problem is major or cannot be fixed, you can choose to:

  • terminate the contract for services and request a full refund
  • seek reimbursement for the difference between the value of the services provided compared to the price paid.

For more information, see repairs, replacements & refunds.

Major problem

A problem is considered ‘major’ when it:

  • would have stopped someone from purchasing the service had they known about it
  • is substantially unfit for purpose and can’t be fixed in a reasonable timeframe
  • creates an unsafe situation
  • doesn't meet the specific purpose or achieve the specific result that the consumer requested.

For more information, see repairs, replacements & refunds.

Ticket reselling

Event organisers can authorise ticketing agencies to sell tickets for their events.

Ticket reselling can happen when:

  • someone buys a ticket to an event and then can no longer attend, or
  • ticket scalpers deliberately purchase tickets to resell for a profit when an event is sold out – this practice is illegal.

In NSW, laws targeting ticket scalping were introduced on 1 June 2018.

The new laws:

  • prevent ticket resellers from selling a ticket for profit
  • make it an offence to resell a ticket for more than the original retail price, plus transaction costs (for example, booking fees, ticket delivery fees and credit card surcharges) up to a maximum 10 per cent of the original ticket price
  • prevent event organisers from cancelling a ticket on the basis it was resold, provided it was sold in accordance with the new laws
  • only apply to events held at a venue in NSW.

The new laws apply no matter how many times a ticket is resold between different people. This may mean you need to research comparable tickets before you advertise tickets for resale.

Remember, even with the ticket scalping laws, buying a resold ticket is not without risk. If you buy a ticket from a reseller, attend the event and then find out you were charged more than 110 per cent of the original ticket price, you may not get refunded the difference. Fair Trading does not have the power to order refunds in any circumstance.

"Did you know? It is against the law to resell tickets to NSW events for profit. And the resale of tickets outside some venues, such as the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Olympic Park, is prohibited."

Resale advertisement requirements

From 1 June 2018, any advertisement to resell a ticket must include:

  1. the original ticket cost
  2. an asking price that is no more than 10 per cent above the original ticket cost
  3. the location of the bay, row or seat number attached to the ticket (tickets to events without allocated seating must specify general admission or similar).

Any advertisements that do not comply with these requirements are prohibited advertisements.

Report advertisements that do not comply with the requirements to the resale site operator. Send an email to the resale website or use the 'report' function (if there is one) to trigger an investigation into suspicious or non-compliant advertisements.

"Maximum penalties for breaching ticket scalping laws are $110,000 for a corporation or $22,000 for an individual. Fair Trading can also issue a $550 fine for any offence under the laws, including one-off breaches."

If a ticket is resold in breach of the ticket scalping laws, the event organiser can cancel the ticket and refuse entry to the person who holds it.

The laws also make it an offence to publish a prohibited a dvertisement on resale sites (eg Viagogo, Ticketmaster Resale, StubHub, Twickets), general sale platforms (eg eBay), social media (eg Facebook), and in newspaper or magazines.

Cancelled events

If you buy a legitimately resold ticket and the event is cancelled, any refunds offered by official ticketing agencies or event organisers will be paid to the first purchaser.

Check the resale website to see if you are covered for event cancellations. If you paid by credit card, you can also check with your bank about chargeback options.

Buyers should be aware that the original supplier of the tickets (the official ticketing agency or the event organiser) is not legally bound to provide you with a refund, as you did not transact directly with them. Your sale contract is with the reseller of the ticket.

Have a problem?

  1. Contact the business in the first instance and explain the problem. If the matter is complicated and not urgent, you could write an email or letter. We have tips and sample letters to help you.
  2. If you’re unable to resolve the matter with the business, you can contact us for help on 13 32 20 or make a complaint online.

Be a savvy consumer

School formals and other parties

If you’re planning a school formal or after-party, beware of scammers and businesses offering the ‘ultimate experience’. Know what you want from the event. Don’t be convinced you need something you may not want.

Research the operator, get the business name, contact person and their position. Do an online search and if possible, get references from people who have used them before.

Don’t sign anything if you don’t understand all the terms and conditions. If anything about the contract is not clear, ask the provider to explain it to you.

Don’t pay any money until you get a written agreement. The agreement should list all the services to be provided and their costs, when and where the event will take place, and the refund policy. When you do pay, use electronic funds transfer, cheque or credit card as it is easier to trace who was paid and when.

Keep all receipts and invoices in case you need to refer to them in a dispute.

Buying resale tickets

While ticket reselling laws help protect consumers buying resale tickets, there are still risks.

If you buy a resold ticket at more than 110 per cent of the original price (knowingly or not), there is a chance the venue could cancel the ticket and deny you entry to the event.

Buying a ticket from a scalper, whether in person or online, carries two main risks:

  • the ticket may not be genuine, or may not be provided at all
  • a ticket bought from a scalper may be cancelled by the event organiser if it was resold for more than 10 per cent above the original cost.

The venue has no role in the price that was set by the reseller, but you could check with them to find out if you will be admitted to the event and that the ticket you bought is not fraudulent.

Make sure you do your research before buying resold tickets. Find out the original cost by checking comparable seats with the official ticketing agency or the event promoter. Do your own calculations to make sure you are not being charged more than 10 per cent above the original cost of the ticket. Here are some examples to help you:

Original cost = $100
Booking and delivery fees + credit card surcharges (transaction costs) = $5
Maximum legal resale price = $105

Original cost = $100
Booking and delivery fees + credit card surcharges (transaction costs) = $15
Maximum legal resale price = $110 (original costs + 10% maximum)

Reselling tickets

If you purchase a group of tickets and are charged a single transaction cost, you need to work out the transaction cost for each ticket you intend to sell. See formula example in ‘Buying resale tickets’ above.

If you win a ticket in a competition and it has a resale restriction, you cannot resell the ticket for any amount because you paid nothing for it. You must use the ticket or give it away for free.

It is an offence to sell your ticket for a higher price than the law allows, even if the buyer offers to pay more. The buyer of your ticket is also at risk as their ticket could be cancelled by the venue.

Further information

Contact us

Can’t find the information you’re looking for? Call us on 13 32 20 or submit an online enquiry.

Who enforces Australian Consumer Law?

The following agencies enforce provisions relating to consumer goods and services:

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is responsible for financial products and services.

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