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Proposed bill would set ticket scalping limits in Tennessee

9:52 PM, Mar 23, 2012   |    comments
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An East Tennessee lawmaker is trying to stop ticket scalpers from taking advantage of buyers. Representative Ryan Haynes (R-Knoxville) has sponsored legislation that would limit online-based large scalpers from buying tickets in bulk, then marking up the price.

"We've all had a situation where we've... tried to go to a ball game, tried to go to a concert, a play - where we get online and we find out the tickets cost about three times face value," said Rep. Haynes.

Thanks to technology, Haynes says many online scalping companies will buy tickets in bulk as soon as they go one sale.

"When the venue opens up to start selling tickets, they'll go in and buy them all up and then there's none left for the consumers," he said.

Under the proposed measure, called the "Fairness in Ticketing Act of 2012," scalpers must display the face value of the ticket, and the sale price. Sellers must also provide information about where the seats are located at an event.

Haynes says the legislation targets large, Internet-based scalpers without prohibiting others from resale.

"We try to structure that so if an individual does want to go [online] and sell a ticket they don't have to abide by it (the proposed law). It's just big brokerages who go up and buy those tickets in bulk," he said.

Artists and vendors across the state are supporting the bill, including Martina McBride, Kenny Chesney, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

At the Bijou and Tennessee Theatres in Knoxville, General Manager Tom Bugg also understands the frustrations of scalpers.

"We've had more and more instances of patrons with scalped tickets that aren't real, or they've been used several times," he said.

He says customers will call the theaters angry about high ticket prices posted online, but he doesn't see that profit from scalpers.

"The artist doesn't see the money, the presenter doesn't see the money.... Essentially, it's just a total ripping off of the consumer."

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