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
- 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).
Proof of purchase and documentation
Remedy when things go wrong
The type of remedy will depend on whether the problem is minor or major:
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- the original ticket cost
- an asking price that is no more than 10 per cent above the original ticket cost
- 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 advertisement on resale sites (eg Viagogo, Ticketmaster Resale, StubHub, Twickets), general sale platforms (eg eBay), social media (eg Facebook), and in newspaper or magazines.
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?
- 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.
- 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)
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.
Who enforces Australian Consumer Law?
The following agencies enforce provisions relating to consumer goods and services:
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
- NSW Fair Trading, and
- other State and Territory consumer protection agencies.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is responsible for financial products and services.