The Alberta government’s ban on bots will protect consumers by improving access to tickets from legitimate sellers, minimizing the need to turn to inflated resale prices.
A bot is computer software that is programmed to quickly scoop up tickets from primary sellers before real customers have the chance. This leads to limited availability of tickets, inflated prices on tickets sold by resellers and exposure to a greater risk of fraud.
“We’ve heard, over and over again, that game and concert tickets sell out very quickly and Albertans aren’t able to see their favourite team or band. When tickets are scarce, consumers are forced to pay sky-high prices or they are scammed by questionable resellers. Our government believes Albertans deserve better. These new rules will ensure they have a better shot at getting the tickets they want.”
To help enforce the ban, ticket sellers are required to use reasonable diligence in detecting bots and cancelling tickets purchased by bots. Additionally, Service Alberta’s Consumer Investigations Unit has worked with the industry to ensure compliance and join forces in investigative activities against bots.
“Working with governments across North America, Ticketmaster’s top priority is getting tickets in the hands of real fans. We only succeed if true fans can access the concerts, hockey games and rodeos that make Alberta such a thriving scene for arts, entertainment and culture. Alberta’s new legislation will make cheating in ticket sales illegal by banning the use of scalper bots – and it is a big step forward for consumers.”
Additional protections that come with the ban
Consumer’s right to a full refund
- Applies in instances of event cancellations, fraudulent purchases or other issues, such as invalid tickets.
- A full refund includes the price of the ticket and any fees paid at the time of purchase.
- Only for-profit ticket resale businesses, including those that reach buyers through online platforms such as Kijiji, are required to issue refunds.
Consumer’s access to replacement tickets
- If an event is rescheduled, a reseller must offer a full refund and may also offer a replacement ticket. The consumer can choose either of those options. If the consumer does not explicitly consent to receiving a new ticket for the rescheduled event, a refund must be issued.
Consumer’s right of action
- Consumers and businesses who are harmed by the use of bots (lose money, miss out on an event because the ticket bought through a reseller was cancelled as it was originally purchased by a bot, etc.) have the right to sue those who use bots to illegitimately acquire tickets.
- Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan are the only Canadian jurisdictions with a ban on ticket bots. Quebec’s legislation has passed but is not yet in force.
- During the 2017 consultation on consumer protection laws, Albertans identified ticket sales and resales as one of the most important consumer issues.
- Albertans’ top concerns included tickets selling out too fast, event/ticket cancellations and related refund policies.