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Alberta's Loose Rules Around Event Ticketing Create Free-for-All for Concertgoers

Thursday, February 20, 2014   (0 Comments)

Calgary Sun (02/08/14) Kaufman, Bill

Alberta's repeal of the Amusements Act five years ago has led to a free-for-all in the event ticketing industry, legalizing scalping and continuing consumer unhappiness with popular concert tickets being scooped up by hackers, scalpers, and counterfeit artists for sale at inflated prices. Service Alberta spokesperson Mike Berezowsky says the Amusement Act's inability to deter such practices is what led to its repeal. He also says other jurisdictions, where many ticket purchases are made, are unable to enforce bans against such behavior through legislation. Still, three years ago Saskatchewan enacted the Ticket Sales Act, outlawing the direct sale of ducats by official industry merchants at affiliated websites for higher prices, and also barring the use of software bots. However, the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan's Daniela Machuca says there have been no prosecutions under the Act. Before the Alberta law was changed, attorney Clint Docken managed to help get some concertgoers compensation by settling a Canada-wide class-action suit with Ticketmaster for $5 million, arguing the firm's use of its TicketsNow subsidiary to sell ducats at a higher price violated Canadian anti-scalping laws. "The legislation at that time did not allow anyone to sell a ticket at more than face value,” Docken notes. Meanwhile, Live Nation's Jacqueline Peterson contends TicketsNow's role has evolved, and that it now ensures that concertgoers get the seats they are promised from secondhand tickets.

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