October 5, 2017 5:23 pm

Ontario bill looks to strengthen consumer protection and ban scalper bots

Enrique Iglesiais and Pitbull tickets offered for sale through Ticketmaster website.

Global News Toronto
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The province of Ontario introduced legislation on Thursday which could help consumers avoid fraud when buying event tickets or travel services, and purchasing or selling real estate, including newly built homes.

If a bill making changes to the Ontario Consumers Act is passed, the new rules would ban the use of ticket bots for the purchase of event tickets online, in addition to capping ticket resale prices at 50 per cent above the face value.

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READ MORE: Ontario government launches online survey in tackling ‘scalper bots’

The Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Tracy MacCharles, made the announcement in Toronto and says the plan will offer more consumer protection making “significant purchases.”

“Building a fair, safe and informed marketplace is a key priority of this government,” MacCharles said in a statement on Thursday, “We are committed to strengthening consumer protection and making it work better for everyone.”

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi told AM 640’s Kelly Cutrara Show that with the legislation in place an individual can not knowingly sell tickets purchased through a so-called “scalper bot”, software designed to purchase large numbers of event tickets online.

LISTEN: AM 640’s Kelly Cutrara talks to Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi about fighting massive event tickets markups.  

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When asked how the province would eliminate the use of bots, Naqvi said it would be up to the major ticket retailers to police it.

“We’re asking companies like StubHub and Ticketmaster, that they cannot not knowingly make their platform available to people who sell their tickets online,” said Naqvi. “We are hoping to take the financial incentive out of using bots.”

Changes to the act will also tackle disputes between homeowners and developers with the creation of an administrator position for the home warranty program along with the addition of an authority to regulate new home builders and vendors.

READ MORE: Ontario man charged with fraud in alleged Tragically Hip online ticket scam

The policy would favour homeowners making it easier to resolve conflicts when discovering a problem with a new home.

It also introduces heavier fines for multiple representation or double-ending situations from agents selling homes.

Ontarians planning a dream vacation will see more protection from out-of-province salespersons with the enabling of new advertising rules which require agents to register with Queens Park.

WATCH: Ontario is trying to crack down on ticket scalping and bots. Mike Le Couteur reports.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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