Michigan Ticket Scalping

In Michigan, selling tickets for a price in excess of the general admission advertised or charged a.k.a. ticket scalping, is a misdemeanor (90-days / $100 fine).

MCL 750.465 provides:

(1) The owner, lessee, operator, or manager of each theatre, circus, athletic grounds used for an athletic game, or place of public entertainment or amusement shall have printed on each ticket issued for admission to, or for a seat of, the theatre, circus, athletic grounds, or place of public entertainment or amusement, in conspicuous type, the price of the ticket, and the number on the seat when each seat is numbered. The owner, lessee, operator, or manager also shall print or endorse on the ticket the charge in excess of the box office price at which the ticket is sold if the ticket is purchased at a location other than the box office where the event occurs and the following statement: “This ticket may be purchased at the box office price without the surcharge by purchasing the ticket at the box office where the event is scheduled to occur.”

(2) A person owning, occupying, managing, or controlling a building, room, park or enclosure for the sale of tickets for a theatre, circus, athletic game, or place of public entertainment or amusement, who asks, demands, or receives from a person for the sale of the ticket to a theatre, circus, athletic grounds, or place of public entertainment or amusement, a price in excess of the general admission advertised or charged for the same privilege, or a person, who by himself or herself or his or her agent or employee, offers for sale upon a public place or thoroughfare, a ticket to a theatre, circus, athletic grounds, or place of public entertainment or amusement, for admission to, or for a seat or other privilege in a theatre, circus, athletic grounds, or place of public entertainment or amusement, at a price in excess of that demanded or received from the general public for the same privilege, or in excess of the advertised or printed rate, shall be punished as provided in subsection (6), except if the request, demand, or receipt is with the written permission of the owner, lessee, operator, or manager of the theatre, circus, athletic grounds, or place of public entertainment or amusement where the event occurs. If the owner, lessee, operator, or manager permits, in writing, a charge in excess of the box office price, the permission shall be limited to the sales of tickets at locations other than the box office where the event occurs.

(3) Except as provided in subsections (1) and (2), a person shall not establish an agency or suboffice for the sale of a seat ticket of admission to a theatre, circus, athletic grounds, or place of public entertainment or amusement at a price greater than the sale of a seat ticket at the box office of the theatre, circus, athletic grounds, place of public entertainment or amusement, or in excess of the advertised price of the seat ticket.

(4) Except as provided in subsections (1) and (2), the owner, lessee, operator, or occupant of a building, room, enclosure, or other place open to the public, who permits a person to sell or exhibit for sale in the building, room, enclosure, or other place open to the public, 1 or more tickets for a theatre, circus, athletic grounds, or place of public entertainment or amusement, for more than the price printed on the ticket, shall be liable and guilty equally as the person.

(5) If the owner, lessee, operator, or manager of a circus, theatre, athletic grounds, or place of public entertainment or amusement has sold a ticket or admission to a person, under restrictive conditions and at a less rate than the general admission charged, and whose name appears on the face of the ticket or is registered in the office of the owner, lessee, operator, or managers as the holder of the ticket and if it is printed on the face of the ticket that the ticket is nontransferable and sold only to the person whose name appears on the face of the ticket or is registered, the holder of the ticket shall not sell the ticket to another person, and a person selling the ticket shall be punished as provided in subsection (6).

(6) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Nando Machado / Shutterstock.com

Nando Machado / Shutterstock.com

If people are getting away with scalping tickets then it is probably because the law is not being enforced in that particular county or that they are arguing the black letter of the law.

Under MCL 750.465(2) if the resale is being done with the written permission of the owner, lessee, operator, or manager of the theater, circus, athletic grounds, or place of public entertainment or amusement where the event occurs, then the sales can be made at locations other than the box office where the event occurs. The owner, lessee, operator, or manager must have knowledge and provide written permission to charge in excess of the box office price.

Commercial entities like Stub Hub at StubHub.com have contracts with the venues allowing fans to sell their tickets above face value online.   However, if you are forced to defend your sale and you are not so fortunate, argue that the black letter of the law does not apply to your situation.  For example, argue that you are not in violation of the law because you are not “a person owning, occupying, managing, or controlling a building, room, park or enclosure for the sale” or “a person who by himself or herself … offers for sale upon a public place or thoroughfare” (see section (2) above).

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