The Consumer Affairs Committee Approves Assemblyman Moriarty’s Bill To Prevent Misleading Ticket Sales
As long as there have been paid events, there have been ticket scalpers buying up tickets to sell at an inflated rate. While this has long been a nuisance for event goers, today’s scalpers are far more deceptive.
By using internet domain names designed to trick the consumer, some third-party ticket sellers have offered cheap ticket prices only to charge exorbitant fees at checkout. To stop this deceptive behavior, Assemblyman Moriarty’s Bill, A-4081, would prohibit the use of misleading domain names to sell event tickets. During its’ October meeting, the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee approved this bill with overwhelming support.
Currently, these deceptive third-parties implement domain names similar to the name of the venue, performer, or event title to convince consumers that venues approve of their websites. Often these websites will buy their tickets from a ticket seller affiliated with the event. Then, they proceed to use the affiliated ticket seller’s resources on their site as their own. Finally, even though they have added no value to the transaction, they charge the customer large service fees without warning at checkout.
Assemblyman Moriarty believes that New Jersyans deserve to know that tickets they are buying come from a reputable source. Furthermore, we should make all efforts to curtail deceptive third-party ticket sellers.
In this spirit, the bill would make it unlawful under the Consumer Fraud Act for a website to sell tickets to New Jersey residents while using a domain name that is substantially similar to the name of the venue, performer, or event title. This restriction would not apply to website operator who has been authorized to act on behalf of a venue.
Violations of this act are punishable by a fee of not more than $10,000 for a first offense and up to $20,000 for any subsequent offense. Additionally, violations can result in punitive damages, treble damages and costs to the consumer.
Now that the bill has advanced out of committee it will be considered for a full vote by the General Assembly. If approved, having already passed the Senate, the bill would then head to the Governor’s desk for his review. If signed by the Governor, the bill would take effect on the first day of the second month following its enactment.
As the Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Committee, Assemblyman Moriarty has made it his priority to look out for consumers by taking on deceitful companies. This bill joins other efforts, such as legislation to help prevent energy “slamming” practices and unsolicited text messages, in this fight. The Assemblyman is hopeful that this bill will cut back on the amount of New Jerseyans third-party ticket sellers can deceive.