Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 5, 2014

Forum: Bring fairness to ticket resale market

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — In Michigan, it is perfectly legal to resell an event ticket above face value on websites that are selected as “authorized resellers.” However, if a fan has a friend or neighbor willing to buy their ticket above face value, that person-to-person transaction is illegal under current state law. House Bill 5108 treats both online ticket resale and in-person resale equally.

By opening up Michigan to a growing secondary ticket market, House Bill 5108 offers consumers greater choice and allows them to negotiate fair transactions through respected secondary sellers that offer consumers redress if they are unhappy with their purchase.

Websites like TicketsNow, TicketExchange and StubHub will all refund fans who unknowingly buy fraudulent tickets. House Bill 5108 would give consumers who buy and sell tickets face-to-face similar protections because they will also be conducting legal transactions.

House Bill 5108 also guarantees that consumers who need to resell their tickets will be able to recoup the full cost of their purchase. When fans buy tickets online, as the vast majority do, there are fees, service charges and other additional costs that are not reflected in the face value price. Under current Michigan law, anyone wishing to resell their ticket must take a loss on these fees because they can only receive face value in exchange for their ticket. It is also important to note that venues have written in opposition to this bill saying that it will allow individuals to buy up blocks of tickets, raise prices and exploit consumers. These things are happening under the current law, but there is nothing in either the existing law or House Bill 5108 that prevents venues from addressing this situation. Venues should be blocking people from buying up large blocks of tickets and implementing systems to block computer programs from purchasing event tickets as soon as they go on sale to the public.

The bottom line is that when fans buy event tickets they own them. The current law ignores normal consumer behavior, blocks fans from recouping the full costs of their purchase and forces sales into the shadows where there are zero consumer protections. Lawmakers should be urged to vote yes on HB 5108.

About the author: Linda Teeter is co-chair of Michigan Ticket Fairness, a coalition of consumers, businesses, property rights and free-market advocates and nonprofit organizations; on the web at:

About the forum: The forum is a periodic column of opinion written by Record-Eagle readers in their areas of expertise. Submissions of 500 words or less may be made by emailing Please include biographical information and a photo.