National Independent Venue Association Backs California’s SB 785 — ‘Predatory Resellers Have Made the Ticket-Buying Experience a Nightmare’

California SB 785 ticket reform
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California SB 785 ticket reform
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Photo Credit: National Independent Venue Association (NIVA)

The National Independent Venue Association backs California’s SB 785 bill to ban deceptive and predatory ticketing resale practices.

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has released a statement regarding California’s proposed Senate Bill (SB) 785 currently up for consideration by the California Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection. SB 785 would ban deceptive and predatory ticketing resale practices and scams on the secondary market.

“Predatory resellers have made the ticket-buying experience a nightmare in California,” NIVA’s statement begins. “Fake tickets, deceptive marketing practices and websites, and exorbitant pricing harm the live entertainment experience and siphon money away from artists, venues, festivals, fans, and communities. If it becomes law, SB 785 will help prevent and make illegal deceptive and predatory practices with regard to ticket resale.”

Should the California SB 785 bill pass, it will:

  • Ban speculative ticketing (tickets the sellers do not possess).
  • Increase fines for the utilization of illegal bots.
  • Illegalize deceptive URLs and fake websites.
  • Require resellers to disclose the original face value of a ticket.
  • Illegalize the duplicate resale of a single ticket.
  • Require resellers to prominently display they are a resale marketplace.
  • Penalize resellers for the misrepresentation of what a ticket provides.
  • Prohibit a ticket reseller from representing that a live entertainment event is sold out or using the term ‘sold out’ when tickets are still available on the original seller’s website.

“California’s SB 785 protects fans, artists, and venues from the predatory ticket sellers who are driving up prices for Californians using deception, non-competitive practices, and scams,” said Stephen Parker, Executive Director of NIVA. “As law, this bill will restore trust and fairness in California’s ticket-buying process and protect fans from these unchecked resellers that tarnish the live entertainment experience. NIVA strongly advocates for the bill’s passage and hopes it can inspire other states to implement similar reform.”

“I have heard countless stories from consumers who were misled during the purchase of live event tickets,” added California State Senator Anna M. Caballero (D-Merced). “Predatory practices, such as selling unauthenticated tickets, using deceptive websites or employing bots, harm the consumer experience. Small, independent venues are left to deal with customer complaints, refund requests, or disputes over ticket authenticity.

It is time we modernize California’s ticketing statute in order to protect consumers from anti-consumer practices and price gouging. SB 785 is a consumer protection bill that ends the predatory practices that currently plague the live entertainment ticketing industry by enacting meaningful reforms that place consumers, venues, artists, and teams first.”

“Passage of SB 785 will put California, the birthplace of the modern concert industry, squarely where it should be: out in front and leading on protecting the consumer and the small businesses that depend and interact with consumers every day,” concluded Jim Cornett, owner of Harlow’s in Sacramento and NIVA’s California Chapter President.

“We want to thank the author, Senator Anna Caballero (D-Merced), for her leadership, as well as Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee Chair Asm. Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-San Ramon) for working with artists, venues, and nonprofits to get this policy right. We are ready to roll up our sleeves to get this to Governor Newsom’s desk.”

The National Independent Venue Association represents independent music and comedy venues, promoters, and festivals throughout the United States. NIVA led the #SaveOurStages campaign, culminating in landmark legislation in 2020 that established the $16 billion Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program.