Offshore ticket resellers evade South African authorities

A state government crackdown on ticket scalping has been largely effective in protecting spectators at South Australian events, according to a new report, but overseas-based offshore ticket scalpers remain a problem.

The former Marshall government passed legislation in 2018 prohibiting the resale of tickets to sporting and entertainment events for more than 110% of the original cost of the ticket.

The amendments to the Fair Trade Act 1987led by former consumer affairs minister Vickie Chapman, also banned the use of online ticket-buying software and required resale ads to include details of a ticket’s original cost.

Chapman then cited the case of a 2017 concert featuring singer Adele at Adelaide Oval for which tickets were “selling for almost 700 times their true value”.

A government-commissioned review of the effectiveness of the stricter laws, tabled in parliament on May 31, concluded that the reforms had “strengthened consumer protection in South Africa”.

“The banknote scalping provisions have not entirely eliminated the occurrence of banknote scalping in South Africa, but this was not intended due to the inherent limitation of states and territories seeking to regulate banknote scalpers. offshore tickets,” according to the report.

“Generally, the legislation has been welcomed by stakeholders in terms of maximizing consumer protection against ticket resellers.”

Consumer and Business Services (CBS), the government agency that compiled the review and is responsible for enforcing anti-ticket scalping laws, imposed four $550 fines for illegal ticket resale activity between December 2018 and May 2021.

Majority of consumer complaints and investigations initiated against ticket resellers relate to the misappropriation of overseas tickets for events

The agency also reported distributing 70 formal written notices demanding the removal of a ticket resale ad, although its overall compliance workload was reduced due to COVID-19 event restrictions.

The report points out that the agency’s ability to crack down on overseas ticket trafficking has been limited.

“CBS has taken various enforcement actions against illegal ticket scalping activities, but it has not been without its challenges, particularly when it comes to cracking down on ticket scalping activities by ticket scalpers. offshore,” the report said.

“The majority of consumer complaints and investigations initiated against ticket resellers relate to the trafficking of tickets overseas for events held in multiple Australian jurisdictions.

“Without the ability to take strong enforcement action against these offshore ticket resellers, secondary market sales of tickets have shifted from Australian companies that are mostly law abiding, to offshore companies that are unaware of the law or choose to ignore it.

“While CBS can take legal action against ticket scalping and advertising platforms under the FTA (Fair Trade Act)this process is quick and expensive and the public interest must be taken into account when a decision is made by a single jurisdiction in Australia to take legal action against an international ticketing platform.

The report recommended the federal government strike more deals with other countries to crack down on ticket trafficking, but called for no changes to South Australian law.

“The successful prosecution of ticket smuggling offenses across international borders can only be achieved through bilateral agreements with the assistance of the Commonwealth and the competent international jurisdiction in each case,” the report states.

“This demonstrates the need for national consistency across all Australian jurisdictions.”

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