The Legault government plans to tighten the rules to better regulate the resale, often at crazy prices, of show tickets, as was the case for seats at the Bell Center for the tribute to the singer of the Cowboys Fringants.
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As soon as free tickets for the national tribute ceremony to Karl Tremblay went online a dozen days ago, resellers got to work, sparking general indignation.
With some tickets priced at $500, the late singer’s wife, Marie-Annick Lépine, immediately implored the public not to encourage resellers. The latter should “be ashamed”, added the Minister of Culture, Mathieu Lacombe, in disgust.
“It was just the straw that broke the camel’s back,” CAQ MP Kariane Bourassa told our Parliamentary Office.
The one who is also parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Justice was therefore given the mandate to paint “a better portrait” of the situation.
Over the coming months, she intends to meet with stakeholders in the field to see how Quebec could better regulate the phenomenon of ticket resale, which is not new, in addition to looking at what is being done elsewhere.
Anyone who has wanted to attend a popular event in recent years has probably had the unpleasant experience where resellers, often equipped with computer robots, make many tickets disappear as soon as they go on sale.
The member for Charlevoix–Côte-de-Beaupré experienced it personally last summer, when she tried to get her hands on a pass for the Quebec Summer Festival. “I didn’t manage to get a pass,” she summed up.
“However, I was in the queue, I tried,” she said, “but in a few minutes, it was gone and afterwards, we could see, on the resale sites, passes at $250, $400… There were even tickets for $700 for one evening!”
Other examples of this type are legion. We only have to think of the Foo Fighters last summer, the Taylor Swift tour, the tickets for the Remparts final matches in Quebec or those of the Montreal Canadiens…
Law without teeth
In 2012, the Quebec government passed a law that prohibits the resale of show or sporting or cultural event tickets at a price higher than the price authorized by the producer of the show or event.
However, the Consumer Protection Office (OPC), which ensures that this law is applied to resale sites, has no authority with regard to resale between individuals.
“The resale of tickets between two consumers is not regulated by law. The rules […] do not apply, for example, if you buy tickets on a classified ads website,” the OPC specifies on its website.
This is precisely where the Legault government plans to act. And “we want to act as quickly as possible,” said Mr.me Bourassa, without however providing a timetable.