Mr Ong Teng Koon: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) whether the Ministry will consider the anti-scalping laws of other jurisdictions, for example the Major Sports Facilities Act (Queensland, Australia), the Digital Economy Act (UK), the Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance Act (Hong Kong), the Securing Paper Distribution of Entertainment Tickets Act (Japan), and similar legislation in more than ten states in the United States; and (b) whether the Ministry will study the implementation of such legislation in Singapore to protect the interests of consumers from market manipulation by scalpers.
Written Answer by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry Dr Tan Wu Meng
1. Generally, there is no prohibition against the resale of goods and services in Singapore, including concerts and sports events tickets, subject to the terms and conditions of the event organiser. The margin which resellers can command is freely determined between willing buyers and sellers.
2. Event organisers can prohibit resale. Some have put in place measures to curb the unauthorised sales of their tickets. These include printing the names of event goers on tickets and stating clearly that the tickets are not transferrable. Event organisers may also conduct identification checks and void tickets which have been sold by unauthorised sellers.
3. The Government’s approach on consumer protection is based on promoting fair trading by businesses and helping consumers make informed purchasing decisions. We encourage consumers to take steps to protect themselves before making their purchases. Consumers who are purchasing tickets of concerts and sports events can, for example, check the terms and conditions of such tickets carefully before making their purchases, and compare the resale price with the original price of the tickets. If consumers are unsure about the legitimacy of the tickets they are about to buy, they should approach the official event organisers for verification to avoid paying for a ticket which may be subsequently voided by event organisers.
4. If consumers have reason to believe that suppliers have engaged in unfair trading practices in the sale of tickets e.g. false and misleading claims, they can approach the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) with details of these practices for CASE to assist them in seeking redress from the suppliers. The Competition and Consumer Commission is also empowered with investigation and enforcement powers under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act to take action against errant suppliers who persist in unfair trading practices. The Police can also investigate if there is fraudulent activity involved in the sale of tickets.
5. We assess that our current position strikes an appropriate balance between protecting consumers and allowing market forces to operate. We will continue to monitor international developments and the experience of countries with anti-scalping laws and adjust our position if necessary.