Is Ticket Scalping Legal in Singapore? Risks Faced by Buyers/Sellers
Ticket scalping is the practice of buying tickets to an event for the purpose of reselling them at higher prices.
A common example of ticket scalping is the reselling of tickets to concerts held by popular music acts. When tickets to Ed Sheeran’s concert were released in May 2019, all 20,000 tickets were quickly sold out. However, online ticket marketplaces such as Viagogo reportedly had Cat 1 tickets, originally sold at $248, for sale at up to $13,516.17 each.
Ticket scalping may also occur in the case of a hotly anticipated movie, such as Avengers: Endgame, which premiered in Singapore in April 2019. After the opening of advance ticket sales a few weeks prior, a pair of Gold Class tickets was listed on Carousell for $71,350. The original cost of these tickets would have been around $59 to $62.
Legality of Ticket Scalping
While ticket scalping may be morally dubious, the practice is not illegal.
It is likely that no move will be made to make such practices illegal, or to prescribe profit margins for ticket resellers either. This is because, the margins for ticket resale are determined between willing buyers and willing sellers.
Hence, tickets may be resold for a value higher or lower than the original sale price as long as both parties agree on the price.
However, resold tickets will still be subject to the terms and conditions of sale imposed by the original seller. The original seller has the prerogative to take action against those who breach the terms and conditions of the sale (discussed in further detail below).
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For die-hard fans, not being able to secure tickets to watch their favourite artistes live is scarier than any Halloween horror! 😱 With ticket sales for #edsheeran starting tomorrow and #BTS on Saturday, securing tickets is sure to be a bloodbath. 💀💀 – Every time a popular artiste visits Singapore, there will inevitably be scalpers – people who buy tickets for the purpose of reselling them at higher prices. It is, unfortunately, NOT illegal to do so. These ticket resellers only commit an offence if they scam their buyers. In other words, as long as you receive a ticket in return for your payment, it’s not an offence. 😣 – Should you get scammed, however, your best course of action would be to file a police report as soon as possible so the police can look into the matter. Don’t give up hope yet, all the best in securing your tickets! #SingaporeLegalAdvice
Reselling Tickets at a Higher Price
Ticket scalping is defended by some as a legitimate means of making money. Some argue that the marked-up prices serve as extra payment for their efforts to secure the tickets when they first went on sale.
However, regardless of the reason, ticket scalpers should keep in mind the risks they are undertaking when selling tickets at higher prices.
Risks for the seller
The biggest risk sellers may face is getting the tickets that they are reselling seized or voided.
Although ticket scalpers are acting legally, they may be violating a term of the original ticket sale which allows the original seller to seize or void the tickets, without providing a refund, if a ticket buyer is found to have put up their ticket for resale.
If the tickets have been seized, no money can be made off them, and the ticket reseller himself would not be able to use the tickets to attend the event.
If the ticket has already been resold, the risk of it being seized or voided falls on the new buyer instead. The exact circumstances that would trigger seizure or voiding of the tickets depend on the tickets’ specific terms and conditions of sale.
In the case of the May 2019 Ed Sheeran concert for example, the organiser of the show, AEG Presents, had warned that “unlawful resale (or attempted unlawful resale) of a ticket would lead to seizure or cancellation of that ticket without refund or other compensation.”
In such a situation, a buyer attempting to resell his tickets risks having them seized or cancelled even if his resale attempts have not actually succeeded yet.
Buying Resold Tickets
Sometimes if you really want to see your favourite band, you feel you have no choice but to purchase tickets from a third-party seller.
If you choose to do so, you should keep in mind the risks, what you can do to protect yourself, and what repercussions you may have if you never receive the tickets you have paid for.
Risks for the buyer
If you purchase resold tickets, it is possible that the tickets have been voided or seized if the reselling of tickets has violated the terms and conditions of the original ticket sales.
Hence, if you purchase resold tickets, there is a risk that the tickets will not be valid, and you will not be able to receive any financial compensation for them.
In addition, purchasing resold tickets online opens you up to the possibility of becoming a victim of online ticket fraud. In such a situation, you risk receiving invalid or fake tickets, or no tickets at all if the reseller becomes uncontactable after receiving payment.
What if buyers never receive their resold tickets?
In 2017, around 120 police reports were made concerning online ticket purchasing scams. Victims either received fake or invalid concert tickets, or nothing at all.
While ticket scalping is legal, any ticket scalpers running a fraud could be committing the offence of cheating, which involves dishonestly inducing a person to do anything he would not otherwise do if he were not deceived to do so. Those convicted of cheating can be imprisoned for up to 3 years and/or fined.
If you purchase resold tickets and either never received those tickets, or received tickets that did not match the description provided by the reseller, here are a few options for you to seek recourse:
File a police report
If you suspect you have been scammed, file a police report as soon as possible to alert the authorities to the matter.
Lodge a complaint with the Consumers Association of Singapore
The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) is a non-government organisation responsible for investigating and seeking redress from sellers who are engaged in unfair trade practices.
Unfair practices would include the making of false and misleading claims to induce buyers to purchase tickets that are fake or do not exist. CASE can help buyers obtain compensation or redress from these sellers.
You can lodge a complaint with CASE here, by filling in an application with details of your complaint and attaching any relevant documents such as police reports, agreements or credit card slips.
Sellers who continue to engage in such practices will be referred to the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS), which may file and enforce injunctions to stop these sellers from acting unfairly.
How can buyers protect themselves when buying resold tickets?
There are a number of things you can do to protect your interests when purchasing resold tickets:
- Check the terms and conditions of the tickets. If the terms state that tickets cannot be resold, you risk buying tickets that have been voided or seized.
- Compare the resale price with the original price. This allows you to determine if you are purchasing the tickets at a fair price.
- Approach the official event organisers to verify the legitimacy of the tickets. This is to ensure you are purchasing an authentic ticket which may not be subsequently voided.
- Avoid making payment in advance. If possible, meet the seller in person to collect the tickets and make payment. If the transaction cannot be done offline, try to use platforms that release the funds to the seller only after you have received the tickets.
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