Buying tickets and ticket reselling

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Organisers of sporting and entertainment events authorise ticketing agencies to sell tickets for their events.

Ticket reselling can happen when someone buys a ticket to an event and can then no longer attend. Tickets can also be resold by ticket scalpers who deliberately purchase tickets in advance to resell for a profit when an event is sold out.

Many people buy resold tickets when tickets to a major concert or sporting event have sold out.

Buying a ticket from a scalper, whether in person, online or over the phone, carries 2 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 the ticket was resold for more than 10% above the original cost.

In NSW, new laws to target ticket scalping started on 1 June 2018. It is against the law to resell tickets above the original cost, plus transaction costs (capped at 10% of the ticket cost). The new laws apply to all tickets to NSW events that are first sold or supplied by the authorised seller from 1 June 2018 and have a resale restriction. A resale restriction is a term or condition of a ticket that limits the circumstances in which the ticket may be resold, or prohibits resale of the ticket.

Reselling a ticket

Can I resell a ticket to any event?

Resale of tickets to sporting and entertainment events is generally legal in NSW. However, the resale of tickets outside some venues, such as the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Olympic Park, is prohibited.

Tickets often have terms and conditions that restrict or prohibit the resale of the ticket without the prior written consent of the ticketing agency, event organiser or venue. From 1 June 2018, new laws apply to tickets with a resale restriction to provide a protection for consumers that prevents an event organiser from cancelling a ticket on the basis it was resold, if it was sold in accordance with the new laws. The laws only apply to events that are held at a venue inside NSW.

What if the terms and conditions say the ticket cannot be resold?

One of the aims of the ticket scalping laws is to provide for a legitimate resale market. Consumers who purchase an event ticket and can no longer attend should be able to sell that ticket to someone else and recover their costs in the process.

From 1 June 2018, new laws include a protection for consumers that prevents an event organiser from cancelling a ticket on the basis it was resold, if it was sold in accordance with the new laws.

If the event's terms and conditions state you are not allowed to resell your ticket under any circumstances, contact Fair Trading. We will assess the terms and conditions of the ticket and gather other relevant information, including by contacting the event organiser, to decide whether compliance action should be taken.

How much can I legally sell my ticket for?

For tickets that are first sold by the authorised ticket seller from 1 June 2018, reselling the ticket for any profit is prohibited. It is an offence to resell a ticket for more than original cost, plus transaction costs if the ticket has a resale restriction. Transaction costs include booking fees, ticket delivery fees and credit card surcharges. Transaction costs are capped at a maximum of 10% of the original ticket cost.

Example

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 cost + 10% maximum)

Penalties may apply if a ticket is sold for more than the original cost plus transaction costs. Maximum penalties for this offence are $110,000 for a corporation or $22,000 for an individual.

I won a competition prize which included a free ticket to event. Can I resell the ticket if I don’t want to or can’t go? 

If you won the ticket in a competition and it has a resale restriction, you paid nothing for the ticket and you cannot resell the ticket for any amount.

Example

Original cost = $0
Transaction costs = $0
Maximum legal resale price = $0

This means the ticket has to be used by the winner, or given away for free.

How do I calculate my ‘transaction cost’ if I bought multiple tickets in a single transaction, and paid one booking fee for all the 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. To work out the resale price of one ticket, you should divide the transaction cost by the number of tickets you purchased and add it to the original cost of the individual ticket.

Example

4 tickets at $100 each
Booking and delivery fees + credit card surcharges for entire purchase (transaction costs) = $8
Transaction costs divided by 4 = $2
Maximum legal resale price per ticket = $102

4 tickets at $100 each
Booking and delivery fees + credit card surcharges for entire purchase (transaction costs) = $50
Transaction costs divided by 4 = $12.50
Maximum legal resale price per ticket = $110 (original cost + 10% maximum)

2 adult tickets at $20 each and 2 child tickets at $10 each
Booking and delivery fees + credit card surcharges for entire purchase (transaction costs) = $8
Transaction costs divided by 4 = $2
Maximum legal resale price per adult ticket = $22
Maximum legal resale price per child ticket = $11 (original cost + 10% maximum)

What if I want to resell a ticket that that I bought from a resale site?

The new laws continue to apply no matter how many times a ticket is resold between different people.

From 1 June 2018, any person reselling a ticket cannot sell it for an amount that the person knows, or should reasonably know, exceeds the original ticket cost, plus transaction costs capped at 10%.

This recognises that a ticket may be separated from other documentation showing the transaction costs when it is passed from one person to another. It may be difficult for subsequent purchasers to know the original ticket and transaction costs, but you can try to find out by looking at comparable tickets through the official ticketing agency, the event promoter or at the venue.

Will I be fined if I resell a ticket for more than 10% above the original cost?

Fair Trading applies its Compliance and Enforcement policy (PDF size: 160kb) when deciding what action to take against breaches of the law. The policy sets out a series of escalating options for enforcement, starting with education to achieve compliance and moving to warnings, imposition of penalties and prosecution.

The ticket scalping laws provide for maximum penalties (court-imposed) for all offences of $22,000 for individuals or $110,000 for corporations.

The Fair Trading Regulation also empowers Fair Trading officers to issue a penalty infringement notice (a $550 fine) for any of the offences under the laws, including one-off breaches.

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

What details do I need to include in my resale advertisement?

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

  • the original ticket cost
  • an asking price that is no more than 10% above the original ticket cost
  • details of the location from which the ticket holder is authorised to view the event. For example, any bay, row or seat number for the ticket.

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

The ticket scalping laws make it an offence for publication owners to publish a prohibited advertisement. A publication owner is a ticket resale site operator (e.g. Viagogo, Ticketmaster Resale, StubHub, Twickets), a general sale platform that hosts ticket resale advertisements (e.g. eBay), social media (e.g. Facebook), newspaper or magazine publisher. The publication could be online or in printed form.

What if the buyer offers me a higher price than the advertised price?

You are committing an offence if you sell your ticket for a higher price than the ticket scalping laws allow and you could be penalised.

The buyer of your ticket is also at risk as their ticket could be cancelled by the venue.

Buying a ticket

What should I look for in ticket resale advertisements for events in NSW?

Make sure the advertisements for resale tickets include the following:

  • the original ticket cost
  • an asking price that is no more than 10% above the original ticket cost
  • any applicable bay, row or seat number, or if there is no seat then the advertisement must specify general admission or similar

From 1 June 2018, advertisements that do not comply with all the above requirements are prohibited. You should report the prohibited advertisement to the resale site operator.

You should not buy tickets through resale sites that host prohibited advertisements as there is a risk that the ticket could be cancelled at the venue and you could lose your money.

How do I report an advertisement for a ticket for sale for more than the 10% mark-up cap?

From 1 June 2018, it is illegal for a resale website (a publication owner) to host an advertisement for a ticket with an asking price that is more than 110% of its original price, if the ticket has a resale restriction. You can report an advertisement to the resale website by sending them an email. They should then take it down. Some websites have a 'report' function to trigger an investigation into suspicious or non-compliant advertisements.

How do I report bots?

You should contact the ticketing website owner in the first instance.

I bought a resold ticket with a price that is more than 110% of the original cost. Will my ticket be cancelled?

If your ticket is subject to a resale restriction, there is a risk your ticket may be cancelled by the venue as it was bought for more than 110% of the original price.

I bought resold tickets but they never arrived. Am I entitled to a refund?

Contact the reseller first to confirm they have not made a mistake. You can also contact the ticket resale website's customer complaints section. If you purchased tickets with a credit card and you never received them or they were not legitimate, contact your bank to discuss 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.

Live Performance Australia has published industry codes of practice as well as a consumer guide to the secondary ticket market, which provide more information.

I live outside NSW, and bought a resold ticket from someone outside NSW. The ticket is for an event held in NSW. Are they allowed to charge me more than 110% of the original price?

No, not for tickets that are sold from 1 June 2018. These laws apply to sporting and entertainment events held at venues within NSW. It does not matter where the buyer or seller lives. If you are being sold a ticket that includes a resale restriction to a NSW sporting or entertainment event for more than 110% of the original ticket price, that is against the law.

Going to an event

Can a venue cancel my ticket if I bought it from a reseller without knowing it was more than 10% above the original cost?

Yes. From 1 June 2018, if the ticket includes a resale restriction, the venue can cancel your ticket if it was bought for more than 10% above the original cost.

You should contact Fair Trading if the original cost was not disclosed in the advertisement for the ticket. If the correct original cost is disclosed, you can do your own calculation to make sure the asking price is no more than 10% above the original cost.

I bought a ticket and found out before the event I was charged more than 10% above the original cost. Is there any way I can fix this so my ticket will not be cancelled?

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.

To avoid the risk, make sure you do your research before buying second-hand tickets and avoid making hasty decisions. You can 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% above the original cost of the ticket.

I bought a ticket, attended the event and then found out I was charged more than 110% of the original ticket price. Can I get refunded the difference?

No. Fair Trading does not have the power to order refunds in any circumstances.

You could report the sale to the resale website to alert them to non-compliant advertisements being hosted on their website.

I bought a resold ticket for a legitimate price but the organisers won't let me into the event. What should I do?

If your ticket has been properly resold according to the law, the venue cannot cancel your ticket. Confirm your ticket has been sold to you for no more than 110% of the original price.

From 1 June 2018, it is against the law for a NSW event to have terms and conditions allowing them to cancel a legitimately resold ticket. If this is the case, you can contact Fair Trading.

There is also the chance you may have been sold a fraudulent ticket. Contact the ticket resale website to see if they will offer you a refund.

I bought the ticket for less than 110% of the original ticket price, but it was a private transaction. Does the venue have the right to cancel my ticket?

The venue should not cancel your ticket if it was bought for less than 110% of the original ticket price.

The event was cancelled. Can I get a refund if I hold a legitimately resold ticket?

If you paid by credit card, check with your bank about chargeback options.

Any refunds being offered by official ticketing agencies or event organisers will be paid to the first purchaser of the ticket and not to consumers who hold tickets from the resale market. Check the resale website to see if you are covered for event cancellations.

Do the laws apply if I bought a ticket before 1 June 2018 but the event is held after then?

The new laws apply to all tickets to NSW events sold from 1 June 2018, if they have a resale restriction. Tickets purchased before this date are not affected, even if the event is held after the new laws commence.

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