Joe Biden has called for a new law limiting “excessive” fees for concert tickets.
President Biden’s statement came after a congressional hearing on issues in the ticket sales industry, which was held in response to controversy over how Ticketmaster handled the presale of Taylor Swift’s Eras tour at the end of last year.
Thousands of fans who tried to purchase tickets in pre-sale reported long waits, interruptions in the operation of websites and excessively inflated prices on resale sites. The ticket company later admitted that before canceling the general sale, it faced “historically unprecedented demand” from Swift fans.
Now, eight days after the hearing began, Biden has directly addressed another important issue in the world of ticket sales — “garbage fees” that are added to ticket prices. At a meeting of the competition committee, Biden called on Congress to “reduce the huge service fees that companies like Ticketmaster charge for tickets to concerts or sporting events, which can easily add hundreds of dollars to a family evening.” [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 statement yesterday, the Biden administration said: “Many online ticket sellers charge huge service fees at checkout that are not disclosed when consumers choose their tickets.
“In a review of 31 sporting events on five ticket sellers’ websites,” he continued, “service fees averaged more than 20% of the face value of the ticket, and total fees, such as handling fees, shipping fees and service fees, reached up to half the cost of the ticket itself. A family of four attending the show may end up paying more than $100 over the cost of tickets.”
He continued, “Often, if Americans want to attend a certain concert or sporting event, they have only one online option for the initial ticket purchase.
“This means that even if consumers knew that they might have to pay a large fee on top of the ticket price, they would not have the opportunity to avoid it if they wanted to attend a particular show. One company has exclusive partnerships with 80 of the top 100 arenas in the United States, which allows it to charge for attending events at these leading venues without fear of competition.”
Biden is also seeking to combat hidden fees in other industries, such as hidden resort fees at hotels, overdraft fees, credit card late payment penalties and early termination fees charged by Internet service providers and telephone carriers.