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Energy and Commerce Committee Launches Investigation into Potential Unfair and Deceptive Practices in the Live Event Ticketing Industry

Nov 21, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO), Subcommittee Ranking Member Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) today launched an investigation into practices in the live event ticketing industry.  In letters to Live Nation, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), StubHub, Vivid Seats, TicketNetwork, and Tickets.com, the members requested detailed information and documents pertaining to the ticketing policies and practices of the companies.

“The Committee, which has broad jurisdiction over consumer protection issues, is concerned about potentially unfair and deceptive practices occurring in the primary and secondary ticket marketplace, many of which have been documented in consumer complaints, press stories, and government reports,” the Committee leaders wrote.

The members’ letter addresses several concerning trends in the live event ticketing industry that disadvantage consumers, including high, hidden fees, speculative tickets that harm unknowing customers, and “white label” websites that may use practices to deceive consumers.

The Committee has taken a number of key actions to protect consumers in the live event ticketing marketplace.  These actions include the introduction and passage of important legislation designed to help level the playing field by ensuring fairness and transparency for consumers.  In 2016, the Committee and subsequently the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5104, the “Better On-line Ticket Sales At of 2016,” which prohibits the use of computer software to purchase tickets by circumventing security measures of ticketing websites; the Senate companion to this legislation became law in December 2016. 

In September 2016, the Committee sent a bipartisan request to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking that GAO initiate a study of the ticketing industry and its impact on consumers.  GAO published the resulting report in April 2018.  In an effort to further protect consumers and promote transparency, in July 2018, the then-Ranking Member of the Committee also sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), requesting the agency examine a host of consumer protection issues regarding this marketplace. 

“Nonetheless, despite ongoing bipartisan efforts by the Committee, as well as federal agency action to better understand the current ticketing marketplace, consumers still face a host of troubling practices and trends in the ticketing industry,” the Committee leaders continued.  “Many of these issues relate to a lack of transparency and fairness, which places purchasers at an unfair advantage when attempting to buy tickets in the current marketplace.”

The members are requesting documents and other information, as well as a briefing, from the companies.

To read the letters, click below:

Live Nation

AEG

StubHub

Vivid Seats

TicketNetwork

Tickets.com

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