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US Senate Bill Could Force Ticket Sellers To Stop Hidden Fees
Christian Eede , April 28th, 2023 13:08

The bill has bipartisan support, and is being debated in response to controversial practices by Ticketmaster and others

A new bill has been introduced in the US Senate which, if passed, would force ticket sellers to stop hiding additional fees.

Brought forward by US Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell and committee ranking member Ted Cruz earlier this week, The Transparency in Charges for Key Events Ticketing (TICKET) Act has bipartisan support and would require companies who sell tickets to fully disclose the total price at the point of sale, instead of adding further fees just before checkout.

Companies such as Ticketmaster have been heavily criticised in recent years for frequently adding handling and other fees to ticket prices just before buyers commit to a purchase, rather than at the initial point of purchase. These surcharges can often amount to as much as 30 percent of the base ticket price.

Speaking about the bill, Senator Cruz said: "Sports fans and concertgoers alike have experienced the frustration of expecting to pay the listed price for a ticket only to be hit with a slew of hidden fees at checkout.

"These unadvertised fees are a nuisance and deter consumers from following through with a purchase. The TICKET Act brings transparency to the whole ticketing industry, which is dominated by a few large players that can capitalise on these hidden fees."

The practice of adding hidden fees has attracted particular attention in relation to the sale of tickets for recent high-profile tours by artists such as Taylor Swift and Beyoncé. The Cure's Robert Smith also took to Twitter in March to speak out against Ticketmaster's practice of surcharges when the company sold tickets for the band's upcoming US tour.

After fans took to social media to share screenshots of varying additional booking fees across different venues, Smith wrote on Twitter that he was "as sickened as you all are" by the extra charges. One such screenshot, for a $20 ticket, showed an additional service fee of $11.65, as well as a facility charge of $10 and an order processing fee of $5.50.

After contacting Ticketmaster directly, he and the ticketing company reached an agreement to automatically refund some of those fees to those who purchased tickets. Smith also revealed that future ticket sales for The Cure's shows would incur lower fees under the terms of his agreeing with the company.