Written by Principal, Jennifer Tutty, and Law Graduate, Sophie Jones
With Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour heading for Australia, fans are scrambling to try and secure tickets. In response, opportunistic ticket scalpers are hiking their prices to sky-high figures.
Whether you’re a musician, an event organiser, a fan seeking tickets, or a ticket reseller, you may wondering what the difference is between ticket ‘reselling’ (allowed) and ticket ‘scalping’ (not allowed).
In this blog, we break down the legalities of ticket reselling and ticket scalping in Victoria and New South Wales.
Looking to buy or sell concert tickets? Here’s what you need to know…
What is Ticket Scalping?
Ticket scalping is one form of ticket reselling, where tickets are listed at significantly higher prices than initially bought for.
Scalpers take advantage of the high demand and limited supply of tickets, sometimes using automated bots to secure large numbers of tickets at once.
Through the internet, people are able to conveniently buy and sell tickets online. This has enabled a thriving resale market for event tickets and, alongside this, ticket scalping.
Is Ticket Scalping Legal?
Broadly speaking, ticket reselling is not illegal in Australia, and there is no national anti-scalping legislation.
Currently, anti-scalping laws are enforced at a state and territory level. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), New South Wales (NSW), Queensland, South Australia (SA), Western Australia (WA) and Victoria all having some form of anti-scalping legislation.
In NSW, tickets can only be resold at no more than 10% above their original sale price across all venues.
In Victoria however, the event must be declared a ‘major event’ under the Major Events Act 2009 (Vic) for any ticket selling restrictions to apply, and then sellers are prohibited from reselling at more than 10% over the face value of the ticket.
Ticket Scalping of the Taylor Swift Eras Tour
Due to the unprecedented demand for tickets to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, the tour’s Melbourne performances were declared a ‘major event’ by the Victorian Government.
This announcement came after reports that, just hours after an exclusive and limited presale, tickets were being resold online at hugely inflated prices.
This ‘major event’ declaration means that the Melbourne performances are subject to the Major Events Act 2009 (Cth), which, as noted above, restricts the reselling of tickets for more than 10% above their original price.
Under this legislation, anyone reselling tickets for T-Swift’s Victorian show need to make them available at a fair price. Penalties for breaching these rules range from $925 to $554,760 depending on the nature of the offence.
Therefore, when followed, this legislation can protect fans from being ripped off by ticket scalpers.
Ticket scalping continues…
Despite the Victorian Government’s declaration that the Taylor Swift Eras Tour concert is a “major event” and subject to legislation, ticket scalping remains a problem.
There have since been reports of numerous tickets listed at extremely hiked prices for sale online. However, these tickets are only visible to people outside of Australia.
The Australia Letter in The New York Times suggests that geo-blocking of resale tickets is being used to hide ticket scalping activity from people located in Australia.
This can make it harder for Australian law enforcement officials to identify this activity.
How can Ticket Scalping be Prevented in the Future?
As ticket scalpers continue to take advantage of the public, consumer advocates are calling for a change to the way Australia deals with ticket sales and scalping.
Currently, there are differences in the rules between Victoria and New South Wales.
Consumer advocates argue that this should be changed. They suggest that a wider reaching and unified national anti-scalping regulation will combat ticket scalping and provide event goers more protection and peace of mind.
How to Resell Event Tickets Legally
If you’re reselling tickets to this month’s Taylor Swift shows (or another show in NSW or a declared major event in Victoria), here’s what you need to know:
1. The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) applies to the sale of all tickets to events in Australia. The ACL requires anyone selling tickets to events to:
– Provide tickets that are fit for purpose and match their description;
– Include the seat location details.
– Advertise the full price (including all fees). You must include the face value price displayed on the ticket as well as the asking price to resell the ticket.
– Provide a receipt; and
– Not mislead in any way.
2. Use authorised ticket resale platforms.
3. Set fair prices. It is an offence to resell tickets for more than 10% above the face value of the ticket.
How to Buy Event Tickets (and Avoid Ticket Scalpers)
If you’re buying tickets:
1. Buy during pre-sale – stay a step ahead and keep your eyes out for pre-sale options for registered fans.
2. If you miss out on pre-sale or general sale tickets… where possible, purchase any resale tickets from the official ticket seller (this will be listed on the event website).
3. Pay by PayPal.
4. Read the terms and conditions of your tickets.
5. Check the full cost and make sure you’re not paying more than you should be.
6. Keep all documentation and receipts.
7. Be aware of anything that looks suspicious. This could include unofficial ticket websites, advertisements for significantly discounted prices.
And for all those still searching for Taylor Swift tickets, we’re thinking of you! Stick by our tips and best of luck!
Looking for more? Check out some of our other blogs about the music and events industry:
Written by Principal, Jennifer Tutty, and Law Graduate, Sophie Jones.
Published 8 February 2024.
Photo by John Shearer from Getty Images, shared for the purpose of reporting the news of Taylor Swift Eras Tour ticket scalping and summarising the current law on this topic.
The information in this article is of a general nature. It does not constitute formal legal advice, and should not be relied on as such. Please see the full disclaimer in our website terms. Please contact Studio Legal if you are seeking advice about a specific legal matter.