The Ticket Sales Act applies to businesses that sell and resell tickets to live events in BC. The goal of this law is to provide greater transparency and accountability in the tickets sales industry and to ensure you know what you’re buying when you purchase a ticket to a live event.
The law sets out what ticket information must be given to you when you purchase a ticket, and when you might be entitled to a refund.
The law only applies to tickets that were purchased after the Ticket Sales Act came into force on July 1, 2021.
The law applies to a business that sells tickets to live events. This includes primary ticket sellers and secondary ticket platforms.
A primary seller is a person who originally makes tickets available for sale, including an owner of a place where an event is held, an event promoter, or an agent of one of those. For example:
- the Royal Theatre, the MacPherson Playhouse
A secondary seller is a person who has who sells tickets made available by a primary seller. For example:
- StubHub, Vivid Seats, Ticketmaster Verified Resale
The law does not apply to private consumer-to-consumer sales. For example, if you buy your tickets from a person on Craigslist who is not normally in the business of ticket-selling, the law wouldn’t apply. This includes the law covering counterfeit tickets and refunds.
Tickets for certain venues/event locations are exempt from the ticket sales law. This means that, for certain events, the law and regulations do not apply.
Tickets for events held at any of the following places are exempt from the ticket sales law, unless they are leased out for third party events:
- Kindergarten-Grade 12 schools and post-secondary institutions, including those operated by First Nations
- places of public worship
- places owned or operated by local government entities such as municipalities, regional districts, and park boards, or by self-governing First Nations
- movie theatres already licensed with us
This is not the full list. For a complete list of exemptions, read the Ticket Sales Regulation.
The goal of the law is to improve transparency for people buying tickets to live events. The new rules include:
- what information needs to be given before and after you buy a ticket
- when consumers are entitled to a refund
- a ban on selling tickets that a business doesn’t actually own or control
- a ban on mass-ticket-buying software (aka “bots”)
The law does not cover ticket prices or availability.
Before you buy your ticket, the seller needs to make the following information available to you:
- the total price of the ticket
- an itemized list of any fees, service charges, and taxes
- the face value of the ticket (if it is a secondary seller)
- the price listed in Canadian Dollars, unless it specifies a different currency
- the location of the seat or standing area (if applicable)
- whether there are any restrictions on your ability to transfer the ticket to other people
- any applicable terms and conditions
After you buy, your ticket must include:
- the face value of the ticket
The information needs to be clearly listed or displayed.
If you bought your ticket from a secondary seller, they must guarantee a refund in certain situations:
- the event is cancelled before the ticket can be used
- the ticket you bought doesn’t give you admission to the event
- your ticket is counterfeit
- the ticket doesn’t match the description
If the ticket is cancelled because the primary seller indicates that it was purchased using a ‘bot’, you also have some refund options.
If you think you are entitled to a refund, you should first make a request to the company you bought your ticket from. If they do not issue you a refund, you can submit a complaint to our office.
While you must be guaranteed refunds in certain situations, you may also decide to accept tickets to an event that has been rescheduled. This is up to you to decide.
If you didn’t get the tickets you paid for, there’s a chance the business may have sold you a speculative ticket.
A speculative ticket is when a business sells a ticket that they do not actually have in their possession.
The Ticket Sales Act has new rules that ban these types of tickets. This means that businesses cannot sell tickets that they don’t actually own or control.
Software that is used to automatically purchase tickets is often referred to as a ‘bot’. The new law bans the use of bots to mass purchase tickets to events. People are not allowed to sell tickets that were obtained using a bot.
Primary sellers (venues, promoters, agents) need to take steps to prevent bots from accessing and acquiring tickets on their platforms. They must also cancel tickets that they think were purchased using bots.
It can be difficult to know when bots have been used. If you have evidence to suggest bots were used, you can submit a complaint to our office.
If you believe that the rules in the Ticket Sales Act have been broken:
- first, follow up with the ticket seller to try and resolve the issue
- keep copies of all your purchase documents and correspondence
- submit a complaint form to us and attach all relevant documents
If the issue does not fall under our authority, we will try our best to guide you in the right direction.