Service Fee Apathy

Proposed legislation to cap ticketing service fees in Massachusetts hasn’t received the kind of reception that one state senator had expected.

Sen. Michael Morrissey introduced a bill earlier this year that would permit sellers to charge as much as $12 above face value on a ticket for convenience, transaction and venue fees combined.

The bill also addressed anti-scalping regulations, as Massachusetts is currently one of 17 states that limit how much a reseller can tack on to the original price – a markup of $2 per ticket. The proposed legislation would allow reselling at up to three times face value for tickets.

Morrissey’s proposal to limit service fees has gotten little support thus far from members of the Consumer Affairs and Professional Licensure Committee, for which he serves as co-chairman.

At a recent committee meeting regarding ticketing legislation, the issue of service fees was not addressed and the focus instead was on the state’s ticket resale laws, according to the Boston Globe.

"Many of us on the committee feel that issuing pricing controls is not some place the legislature ought to be," Rep. Michael Rodrigues told the paper.

Consumer activist Colman Herman told the paper Morrissey has his priorities wrong when it comes to ticket regulation.

Herman said Morrissey should stop focusing on service fees that generally range from $8 to $15, and concentrate on the secondary market, "where the real damage is being done to consumers."

But Morrissey reportedly plans to continue to back his legislation, and will push for regulations requiring venues to disclose how much money they receive from facility fees and how that money is used.

"I, for one, want to know where that money is going," he told the Globe.