Lawmakers introduce new bills to combat ticket scalpers and bots

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Last November hundreds of Bruno Mars fans were disappointed when they couldn’t buy tickets online. Even worse, many ended up paying inflated prices for tickets from third party sellers.

Lawmakers have decided to put an end to this by introducing new bills.

Representative Ichiyama, who represents Moanalua Valley, Salt Lake and Aliamanu, says a concerned constituent reached out to her after the concert.

“She had tried to purchase Bruno Mars tickets like so many of us, and they couldn’t get through online,” said Ichiyama. “So her daughter on the mainland actually had to purchase the tickets through a third party at a extremely high price.”

The bill she introduced, House Bill 130, would prevent someone from reselling tickets at a higher price than what is printed on the ticket, which Ichiyama says is more restrictive compared to other legislation in other states.

A similar bill, House Bill 1166, introduced by Representative Nakamura, who represents Hanalei, Princeville and Kapaa on Kauai, takes a less restrictive stance.

“We chose a intermediate phase where it’s closer to New Jersey where it ranges from 20 to 50 percent above the ticket price,” said Nakamura.

Nakamura says events for outer island residents are even more expensive without the scalping.

“This is about the consumers for neighbor islands who have to get on a plane, get a hotel room and get a ticket. It’s very costly,” said Nakamura.

House Bill 1166 will also restrict service fees to no more than 50 percent of the price that is printed on the ticket. It also prohibits speculative ticket selling, which is selling tickets before actually having them at hand.
     
Both bills would prohibit the use of bots, and offenders could end up with a misdemeanor as well as fines.

“The ultimate goal is to make sure that consumers are protected at the end of the day. We don’t want people to be taken advantage of by scalpers or people on the mainland who only want to turn a quick profit,” said Ichiyama. 

House Bill 1166 is scheduled to be heard at the next Economic Development and Business Committee meeting scheduled for February 6, 2019.

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