Joe Biden has called for new legislation to be introduced to limit “excessive” fees on concert tickets.
President Biden’s statement comes in the wake of a hearing in the US Congress relating to issues in the the ticketing industry, which was held in response to the controversy around Ticketmaster’s handling of the Taylor Swift ‘Eras’ tour presale late last year.
Thousands of fans trying to get tickets in the presale reported lengthy wait times, website outages, and hyper-inflated prices on resale sites. The ticketing company later admitted it buckled under the “historically unprecedented demand” they faced from Swift’s fans before cancelling the general sale.
Now, eight days after the hearing began, Biden directly addressed another prominent issue in the ticketing world – “junk fees” that are added on to ticket prices. At a Competition Committee meeting, Biden called for Congress “to lower the huge service fees that companies like Ticketmaster slap onto tickets for concerts or sporting events that can easily add hundreds of bucks to a family’s night out.” [via CompleteMusicUpdate]
NEW: Joe Biden calls on Congress to pass the Junk Fee Protection act, which bans hidden resort fees at hotels, prevents phone and internet providers from tacking on early termination costs, and lowers fees that companies like Ticketmaster add to concert and sports tickets. pic.twitter.com/5MM4pozYdc
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) February 1, 2023
In a further statement yesterday, the Biden administration said: “Many online ticket sellers impose massive service fees at check-out that are not disclosed when consumers are choosing their tickets.
“In a review of 31 different sporting events across five ticket sellers’ websites”, it continued, “service charges averaged more than 20% of the ticket’s face value, and total fees – like processing fees, delivery fees, and facility fees – reached up to more than half the cost of the ticket itself. A family of four attending a show could end up paying far more than $100 in fees above and beyond the cost of the tickets.”
It continued: “Often, if Americans want to attend a particular concert or sporting event, they only have one online option for making the initial ticket purchase.
“That means that even if consumers knew they might have to pay a large fee on top of the ticket cost, they would have no way to avoid it if they wanted to attend a particular show. One company has exclusive partnerships with a reported 80 of the top 100 arenas in the United States, allowing it to charge fees to attend events at those leading venues without fear of competition”.
Biden is also looking to crack down on hidden fees in other industries, such as hidden resort fees at hotels, overdraft fees, credit card late fees, and early termination fees charged by internet and phone providers.