ASSEMBLY, No. 2258

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 2, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman† VINCENT PRIETO

District 32 (Bergen and Hudson)

Assemblyman† GORDON M. JOHNSON

District 37 (Bergen)

Assemblyman† DAVID C. RUSSO

District 40 (Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic)

Assemblyman† ANTHONY M. BUCCO

District 25 (Morris and Somerset)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen Rudder, Coughlin, Moriarty, Assemblywoman N.Munoz and Assemblyman Wilson

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Revises law concerning ticket sales.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act concerning ticket sales, amending and supplementing P.L.1983, c.135, amending P.L.2001, c.394 and repealing various parts of statutory law.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† Section 1 of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-26) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 1.††† As used in this act:

†††† a.†††† "Director" means the director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

†††† b.††† "Division" means the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

†††† c.†††† "Person" means corporations, companies, associations, societies, firms, partnerships and joint stock companies as well as individuals.

†††† d.††† "Place of entertainment" means any privately owned and operated entertainment facility or publicly owned and operated entertainment facility within this State, such as a theater, stadium, museum, arena, racetrack or other place where performances, concerts, exhibits, games or contests are held and for which an entry fee is charged.† A facility owned by a school, college, university, or house of worship is a place of entertainment only when an event is held for which an entry fee is charged, provided that the event is conducted by a third party independent of the owner of the facility.

†††† e.†††† "Ticket" means any [piece of paper which indicates that the bearer has paid for entry or other] evidence [which permits] of the right of entry to a place of entertainment.

†††† f.†††† ["Ticket broker" means any person situated in and operating in this State who is involved in the business of reselling tickets of admission to places of entertainment and who charges a premium in excess of the price, plus taxes, printed on the tickets.† For the purposes of this act, the term "ticket broker" shall not include an individual not regularly engaged in the business of reselling tickets, who resells less than 30 tickets during any one-year period, and who obtained the tickets for his own use, or the use of his family, friends, or acquaintances.] (Deleted by amendment, P.L.††† , c.†† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill)

†††† g.†††† "Resale" means a sale, other than a pre-sale, of a ticket by a person other than the owner or operator of a place of entertainment or of the entertainment event or an agent of any such person acting in that capacity.† Resale shall include the sale of a ticket to an event at a place of entertainment by any means, including, but not limited to, in person, or by means of a telephone or any other communications device or technology, mail, delivery service, facsimile, the Internet, or other electronic means. Resale shall not include an initial sale.

†††† h.†††† "Resell" means to offer for resale or to consummate a resale.

†††† i.††††† "Digger" means a person temporarily hired for the purpose of securing tickets by intimidating a purchaser waiting in line to procure event tickets.

†††† j.†††† "Reseller" means any person other than a place of entertainment or its agent or an online marketplace, acting in that capacity, who resells a ticket, including a season ticket holder or an insider.

†††† k.††† "Advertisement" or "advertising" means any direct or indirect attempt, by publication, dissemination, solicitation, endorsement, circulation, posting, or in any other manner, through any means of communication or technology, to cause or induce any person to purchase or offer to purchase a ticket.† An offer of tickets for resale made on an Internet website or by means of any other communications device or technology shall be deemed an advertisement.

†††† l.††††† "Affinity group" means an identifiable group of people who are members of the same organization, or who are customers of the same person, and who enjoy special privileges.† Customers of a reseller shall not constitute an affinity group.

†††† m.††† "Initial sale" means the first sale of a ticket for a specific entertainment event by the owner or operator of a place of entertainment, or of the entertainment event, or an agent of any such person.† The term "initial sale" also shall include the distribution of tickets to insiders by a producer, promoter, or place of entertainment, under an agreement for the presentation of an entertainment event.

†††† n.†††† "Insider" means an employee of a place of entertainment or of its agent, a producer, promoter, performer, or any other person associated with an event, who lawfully controls any tickets prior to their release for sale to the general public.

†††† o.††† "Pre-sale" means a sale of tickets at or below the price printed on the ticket by an owner or operator of a place of entertainment, or, with the permission of the owner or operator, by an insider, prior to their release for sale to the general public, directly, or indirectly through a third party who is not a reseller, to members of an affinity group or target market.

†††† p.††† "Producer" means a person who stages entertainment events, such as a performance, concert, exhibit, game, or contest.

†††† q.††† "Promoter" means a person who organizes financing and publicity for an entertainment event.

†††† r.†††† "Season ticket holder" means a person who purchases a package of one or more tickets to a series of similar events at a place of entertainment pursuant to a plan offered by the place of entertainment or by a ticket agent for the place of entertainment.

†††† s.†††† "Ticket issuer" means† any person, other than an online marketplace or reseller, that makes tickets available directly or indirectly, at an initial sale or pre-sale, to the general public, and may include the owner or operator of a place of entertainment, the producer or sponsor of an entertainment event, a sports team or sports league of teams participating in an entertainment event, a theater company, musical group or similar participant in an entertainment event, or an agent of any such person.

†††† t.†††† "Public sale tickets" means tickets that are offered for sale to the general public and not subject to a hold back by a ticket issuer.

†††† u.†††† "Online marketplace" means an Internet website that provides a forum for the buying and selling of tickets, but shall not include a reseller, ticket issuer, or an agent of an owner or operator of a place of entertainment.

†††† v.†††† "Public funding" means the provision of funding or financial support in any form by the State or any political subdivision thereof, or by any authority or similar body created by the State or any political subdivision thereof.† Public funding shall include, but not be limited to, grants, payments, or financial support, the use of public funds through the issuance of tax-exempt bonds, payments in lieu of taxes, property tax abatements, lotteries, sales taxes or levies on parking, hotels, alcohol, car rentals, cigarettes or other goods or services.

†††† w.††† "Publicly owned and operated entertainment facility" means an entertainment facility that accommodates more than 1,000 persons and for which public funding has been provided for the construction, maintenance, or operation of the entertainment facility or any infrastructure related thereto, or which is located on property owned by the State or any political subdivision thereof.

(cf:† P.L.2008, c.55, s.1)

 

†††† 2.††† Section 8 of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-33) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 8.††† a.† Each owner or operator of a place of entertainment or of the entertainment event or an agent of any such person shall print or endorse on the face of each ticket and include in any advertising for any event the price charged therefor, and taxes, service charges and fees imposed in connection with the initial sale, each of which shall be separately stated.† The price of a ticket sold by auction through the owner or operator or its agent shall be the final auction price.

†††† b.††† [No person other than a registered ticket broker shall resell or purchase with the intent to resell a ticket for admission to a place of entertainment at a maximum premium in excess of 20% of the ticket price or $3.00, whichever is greater, plus lawful taxes.† No registered ticket broker shall resell or purchase with the intent to resell a ticket for admission to a place of entertainment at a premium in excess of 50% of the price paid to acquire the ticket, plus lawful taxes.] (Deleted by amendment, P.L.††† , c.†† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill)

†††† c.†††† [Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. or b. of this section, nothing shall limit the price for the resale or purchase of a ticket for admission to a place of entertainment sold by any person other than a registered ticket broker, provided such resale or purchase is made through an Internet web site.] (Deleted by amendment, P.L.††† , c.†† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill)

†††† d.††† Each owner or operator of a place of entertainment or of the entertainment event or an agent of any such person shall include in any advertising for an event the number of tickets offered to the public in the initial sale when tickets are first offered to the public. If applicable, advertising shall disclose that additional tickets may become available for initial sale to the public at a later date.

†††† e.†††† An owner or operator of a place of entertainment or of the entertainment event or an agent of any such person shall not directly or indirectly make an initial sale of a ticket to itself or to any corporate affiliate.

†††† f.†††† An owner or operator of a place of entertainment or of the entertainment event or an agent or affiliate of that person shall not advertise, offer to sell or sell any ticket as a resale that was not previously sold to the public in an initial sale, whether or not the resale is for its own account or the account of any corporate affiliate.

(cf:† P.L.2008, c.55, s.2)

 

†††† 3.††† Section 9 of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-34) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 9.††† a.† No person shall resell or purchase with the intent to resell any ticket, in or on any street, highway, driveway, sidewalk, parking area, or common area owned by a place of entertainment in this State, or any other area adjacent to or in the vicinity of any place of entertainment in this State as determined by the director; except that a person may resell, in an area which may be designated by a place of entertainment in this State, any ticket or tickets originally purchased for his own personal or family use at no greater than the lawful price permitted under this act. This subsection shall not apply to a business, located in a physical structure, selling or reselling tickets from that location prior to the effective date of P.L.††† , c.†† (C.††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

†††† b.††† Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any ticket issuer, reseller or online marketplace shall guarantee to each purchaser of resold tickets that the ticket issuer, reseller or online marketplace will provide a full refund of the amount paid by the purchaser, including, but not limited to, all fees, regardless of how characterized, if any of the following occurs:

†††† (1)†† The event for which that ticket has been resold is cancelled, provided that if the event is cancelled then actual handling and delivery fees need not be refunded as long as that previously disclosed guarantee specifies that those fees will not be refunded;

†††† (2)†† The ticket received by the purchaser does not grant the purchaser admission to the event described on the ticket, for reasons that may include, without limitation, that the ticket is counterfeit or that the ticket has been cancelled by the issuer due to non-payment, or that the event described on the ticket was cancelled for any reason prior to purchase of the resold ticket, unless the ticket is cancelled due to an act or omission by that purchaser; or

†††† (3)†† The ticket fails to conform to its description as advertised or guaranteed.

†††† c.†††† Every advertisement of tickets for resale shall disclose the number of tickets offered for sale.

†††† d.††† An insider shall not sell or offer to sell tickets to an event at a place of entertainment prior to the date and time that tickets for that event are released for initial sale to the public.

(cf:† P.L.2001, c.394, s.7)

 

†††† 4.††† Section 10 of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-35) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 10.† a.† Any person who gives or offers anything of value other than the price of a ticket printed on the ticket to an [employee of a place of entertainment] insider in exchange for, or as an inducement to, special treatment with respect to obtaining tickets, or any [employee of a place of entertainment] insider who receives or solicits anything of value other than the price of a ticket printed on the ticket in exchange for special treatment with respect to issuing tickets, shall be in violation of this act.

†††† b.††† No reseller shall employ a tentative ticket policy whereby the reseller sells tickets that are not in the resellerís possession at the time of sale, unless that policy is disclosed to a ticket purchaser at the outset of the transaction.† That disclosure shall include an approximate delivery date and the number of tickets that are guaranteed together. The provision of subsection c. of section 9 of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-34) notwithstanding, that disclosure shall include the zone or section number.† If the reseller is unsuccessful in securing those tickets the reseller shall refund any deposit made by a purchaser of those tickets within 10 days after the event.

†††† c.†††† No person shall use or cause to be used any means, method or technology that is designed, intended or functions to disguise the identity of the purchaser with the purpose of purchasing or attempting to purchase via online sale a quantity of tickets to a place of entertainment in excess of authorized limits established by the owner or operator of a place of entertainment or of the entertainment event or an agent of any such person.

†††† d.††† No person shall use or cause to be used software, or other technology or device, that is designed, intended or functions to interfere with a computer, computer network, or computer system, or any part thereof, for the purpose of purchasing or attempting to purchase via online sale a quantity of tickets to a place of entertainment in excess of authorized limits established by the owner or operator of a place of entertainment or of the entertainment event or an agent of any such person, or that is designed, intended or functions to circumvent or disable any access control systems, electronic queues, waiting periods or other sales volume limitation systems to ensure the equitable distribution of tickets instituted on the website of the ticket seller.

(cf:† P.L.1983, c.220, s.5)

 

†††† 5.††† Section 8 of P.L.2001, c.394 (C.56:8-35.1) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 8.††† a. †It shall be an unlawful practice for a person, who has access to tickets to an event prior to the tickets' release for sale to the general public, to withhold those tickets from sale to the general public in an amount exceeding 5% of all available seating for the event.

†††† b.††† Every owner or operator of a place of entertainment or of the entertainment event or an agent of any such person shall place a code or legend on each ticket so that it can be traced back to the original sale and shall keep complete and accurate records of ticket sales and maintain those records for five years.

†††† c.†††† Every owner or operator of a place of entertainment or of the entertainment event or an agent of any such person shall provide written certification to the director attesting to compliance with this section.

(cf:† P.L.2001, c.394, s.8)

 

†††† 6.††† Section 12 of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-37) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 12.† [Any]a. †A violation of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-26 et seq.) shall constitute an unlawful practice and a violation of P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.), and any person who violates P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-26 et seq.) shall be subject to all remedies and penalties available pursuant to P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.).

†††† b.††† In addition to any other penalty provided by law, any person who violates any provision of [this act] P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-26 et seq.) shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

(cf:† P.L.1983, c.135, s.12)


†††† 7.††† (New section)† a.† A ticket issuer shall provide advance public notice of its ticket policies for each entertainment event subject to P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-26 et seq.), which shall include:

†††† (1)†† The identification of the specific entertainment event, including date, time, and location;

†††† (2)†† The total number of tickets to be issued for the entertainment event, including tickets that are public sale tickets and tickets that are not public sale tickets, and the number of those tickets for every class, tier or level of admission offered;

†††† (3)†† The total number of tickets to the event that will be made available for purchase by members of the general public as public sale tickets subject to this section, and the number of those tickets for every class, tier or level of admission offered;

†††† (4)†† The established price for each class, tier or level of ticket offered which will be designated as public sale tickets, including the amount of any premium, service charge or other fee applicable to the sale of that ticket;

†††† (5)†† The date and time of the initial sale at which public sale tickets will first be made available for sale to any member of the general public including, but not limited to, fan clubs, businesses, and for promotional activities; and

†††† (6)†† A complete list of the outlets at which public sale tickets will be made available for sale to the general public on the date and at the time specified, including a list of all Internet websites at which those tickets will be made available.

†††† b.††† The advance public notice required pursuant to this section shall be made at least 15 days prior to the initial sale specified in the advance public notice.† The advance public notice shall be displayed at each place where public sale tickets are to be sold, and on each website where those tickets are to be sold.† Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a ticket issuer or its authorized agent from using other methods of public notification in addition to those methods which are required by this act.

 

†††† 8.††† (New section)† a.† Except as otherwise provided in this act, no ticket issuer shall:

†††† (1)†† Impose license or contractual terms on the initial sale of event tickets, including, but not limited to, terms printed on the ticket, that prohibit resale of the ticket, or that restrict the price or other terms and conditions under which a ticket may be resold;

†††† (2)†† Require the purchaser of a ticket, whether for a single event or for a series or season of events, to agree not to resell the ticket, or to resell the ticket only through a specific channel approved by the ticket issuer; or

†††† (3)†† Limit or restrict the price at which a ticket may be resold.

†††† b.††† No ticket issuer shall bring legal action, based on a prohibition or restriction on the resale of a ticket that is in violation of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-26 et seq.) against:

†††† (1)†† A purchaser who resells or offers to resell a ticket without permission of the ticket issuer, or in violation of a restriction purportedly imposed by the ticket issuer;

†††† (2)†† Persons who facilitate or provide services for the resale of tickets without permission or in alleged violation of a restriction; or

†††† (3)†† The operator of a physical or electronic marketplace in which a ticket is offered for resale without permission or in alleged violation of such a restriction.

†††† c.†††† No ticket issuer shall impose any penalty on a ticket purchaser who resells or offers to resell a ticket without permission or in violation of a restriction purportedly imposed by the ticket issuer, or treating that purchaser in any material way less favorably than a similarly situated purchaser who does not resell or offer to resell an event ticket, or who complies with resale restrictions imposed by the ticket issuer in violation of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-26 et seq.).

†††† d.††† No ticket issuer shall employ technological or other means for the purpose of, or with the foreseeable effect of, prohibiting or restricting the resale of tickets, which technological or other means shall include, but are not limited to:

†††† (1)†† The issuance of tickets in an electronic form that is not readily transferable to a subsequent purchaser;

†††† (2)†† Conditioning entry into the place of entertainment on presentation of documentation, such as the original purchaserís credit card or State-issued driverís license or identification card, that cannot be readily transferred to a subsequent purchaser; or

†††† (3)†† Requiring the purchaser to choose the "will call" window as the only ticket delivery option or to pick up tickets from a box office or "will call" window in advance of an entertainment event.

†††† Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit a ticket issuer from requiring pick-up at a "will call" window as the only delivery method for tickets purchased within four days of the ticketed entertainment event, so long as the initial sale or pre-sale of tickets occurred more than four days prior to the entertainment event.

 

†††† 9.††† The following sections are repealed:

†††† Section 2 of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-27);

†††† Section 3 of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-28);

†††† Section 4 of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-29);

†††† Section 5 of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-30);

†††† Section 6 of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-31);

†††† Section 7 of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-32);

†††† Section 9 of P.L.2001, c.394 (C.56:8-35.2); and

†††† Section 13 of P.L.1983, c.135 (C.56:8-38).

 

†††† 10.† This act shall take effect on the first day of the ninth month next following enactment.


STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill restructures the law regarding ticket sales and resales in New Jersey, introduces transparency into the ticket issuing and selling industry, establishes consumer protections for purchasers of resold tickets, and protects and reaffirms the right of ticket purchasers to resell their tickets without technological restrictions.

†††† This bill introduces transparency into the ticket selling process by requiring ticket issuers to provide advance public notice of their ticket policies, including the total number of tickets to be issued; the number of tickets to be offered to the general public and the number of holdback tickets; the number of public tickets for each class, tier or level of admission; any service charge, premium or other fee applicable to the sale of tickets; and the time at which ticket sales for an event will commence.† Under the bill, all advertisements for the initial sale of tickets, and the tickets themselves, would have to be marked with the initial price of the tickets, including itemized listings of any taxes, service charges and fees.† The advance public notice would be required to be published at least 15 days prior to the initial sale of tickets at any place the tickets are sold and on any website where tickets are sold by a ticket issuer or an owner or operator of a place of entertainment.

†††† This bill also prohibits ticket issuers from issuing "paperless tickets" in an electronic form that is not readily transferable to a subsequent purchaser or that conditions entry into an event on the presenting of documentation, such as the original purchaserís credit card, that cannot be readily transferred to a subsequent purchaser.† This bill further protects a ticket purchaserís right to resell a ticket by prohibiting a ticket issuer from imposing any terms or taking any legal action or imposing any penalty that would restrict the sale of a ticket.

†††† Current statute limits the price at which certain tickets can be resold.† The bill removes price limits on the resale of all tickets and at the same time enhances consumer protections.† These protections, which would be required of ticket issuers, resellers and online marketplaces, include a full refund by the seller, reseller or facilitator of a sale or resale if the event is cancelled, the ticket does not grant entry to the event, or the ticket does not match its advertised description.

†††† The bill prohibits owners or operators of a place of entertainment or of an entertainment event, or their agents, from making initial ticket sales to themselves or their affiliates.† In addition, they would be barred from advertising, selling, or offering to sell, tickets not previously sold through an initial sale.† An ďinsider,Ē as defined in the bill, would also be prohibited from selling tickets to an event prior to their release for initial sale to the public.

†††† In addition, operators of places of entertainment would be required by the bill to code tickets, so that they can be traced back to the original sale, and to keep records of ticket sales for five years.

†††† Under the bill, ticket brokers would no longer have special privileges or be separately regulated.† As such, they would no longer have to register with the Division of Consumer Affairs and the sections of law concerning registration of ticket brokers are repealed by the bill.

†††† For tickets sold at auction through the owner or operator of a place of entertainment or their agents, the auction price must be the final auction price.† Under the bill, all advertisements for the resale of tickets would have to disclose the number of tickets offered for sale.

†††† The bill prohibits giving or receiving anything of value, other than the price printed on the ticket, in exchange for special treatment with respect to obtaining tickets and the use of any means designed to circumvent or disable controls or systems intended to limit the number of tickets purchased by one buyer or to ensure the equitable distribution of tickets.

†††† The bill also prohibits the resale of tickets not in oneís possession or control unless that policy is disclosed in advance, and a full refund is made within ten days if the reseller is unsuccessfully in securing tickets.† The disclosure must include an approximate delivery date, the number of tickets guaranteed together, and the zone or section number of the tickets.

†††† The resale of tickets not originally purchased for oneís personal use in an area owned by, adjacent to or in the vicinity of a place of entertainment would continue to be prohibited, except that the bill permits the sale or resale of tickets from a business, located in a physical structure, operating prior to the effective date of the bill.

†††† The bill specifies that a violation would be both an unlawful practice under the consumer fraud act and a crime of the fourth degree.† An unlawful practice under the consumer fraud act is punishable by a monetary penalty of not more than $10,000 for a first offense and not more than $20,000 for any subsequent offense. In addition, an unlawful practice violation can result in cease and desist orders issued by the Attorney General, the assessment of punitive damages and the awarding of treble damages and costs to the injured.† A crime in the fourth degree is punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment, a fine of $10,000 or both.