Ticket sales regulations
Consumer protection laws to ban ticket bots and ensure refund protections from resellers came into effect on August 1, 2018.
New ticket sales regulations under the Consumer Protection Act will protect consumers when buying tickets to professional sports, concerts, festivals, arts and theatre, comedy shows and other cultural events.
The rules will:
- ban the use of software (bots) for buying event tickets
- prohibit the sale of tickets originally purchased using a bot
- require resellers to refund customers if tickets don’t grant admission to the event as promised
- enable consumers and businesses 'right to sue' if they are harmed by the use of bots
Ban on bots
A bot is computer software programmed to quickly buy large numbers of tickets from primary sellers before fans have a chance. Often, tickets are immediately resold by secondary sellers at higher prices.
Using bots to purchase tickets is illegal. Anyone using bots to buy tickets or selling tickets obtained through bots may be charged under the act.
Primary sellers must:
- perform due diligence to prevent and detect the use of bots when tickets go on sale
- cancel tickets bought by bots
Secondary sellers must:
- refund customers if tickets sold on the secondary market have been cancelled
Businesses and consumers who suffer a damage or loss resulting from the use of bots have the right to sue bot users.
Banning bots means you no longer have to compete with computer software when tickets go on sale and have more opportunity to buy tickets from primary sellers at reasonable prices.
Refund requirements under the act only apply to resellers to help ensure consumers get refunds under specific circumstances when buying tickets on the secondary market.
Check the seller’s terms and conditions before buying tickets from a primary or secondary seller.
Refunds from resellers
Secondary sellers must provide a full refund to customers if the ticket is:
- for an event that has been cancelled before the ticket is used
- cancelled by the primary seller because it was purchased through the use of a bot
- unable to grant admission to the event as promised
- not matching the advertised description
The refund includes everything paid by the consumer:
- the price of the ticket itself
- any fees charged at the time of purchase (e.g., taxes, processing or delivery fees)
If you believe you’re entitled to a refund, contact the seller directly. For additional assistance, call the Consumer Contact Centre at 1-877-427-4088.
Cancelled or rescheduled events
If the event is cancelled, resellers must provide a full refund to customers.
If the event is rescheduled, resellers can choose to offer a comparable ticket or a full refund.
- When resellers choose to offer comparable tickets, they must provide both options prominently in writing.
- If the customer does not explicitly agree to receive a comparable ticket, the reseller is required to issue a full refund.
- Resellers are not obligated to offer replacement/comparable tickets.
Any organization that is not in the actual business of making profit from ticket sales or resales is not required to issue refunds. Examples include:
- non-profit organizations that resell donated event tickets for fundraising purposes
- platforms that only advertise the sale of tickets and perform no other function in the actual ticket sale transaction (e.g., Kijiji, Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, newspaper classified websites)
The ticket sales regulation covers transactions between consumers and for-profit ticket sale or resale businesses. It does not apply to sales between individual consumers.
If you’re buying from your friend, a neighbour or a stranger, you cannot rely on the protections outlined in the regulation. Consider the risks of these types of purchases before making any final purchasing decisions.
- Primary seller
- A business that offers tickets for sale for the first time, including artists, event promoters, venues or agents such as Ticketmaster
- Secondary seller
- A business that resells tickets previously sold by a primary seller and processes the transactions directly on a ticketing platform, such as Stubhub, Tickets Now
- Computer software programmed to perform automatic functions, such as buying large quantities of tickets, giving bot users an unfair advantage when tickets go on sale