Coldplay, one of the most famous rock bands, had performances in Korea this April, and ticketing for it started in November 2016. The server was down and it is estimated that it took only about two minutes for 22,000 seats to be sold out. After this situation, some tickets were resold at amazingly high prices by ticket scalpers, even at over one million won per seat. This situation is not exclusive to Coldplay: there are also problems with ticket scalping of various types of events.
Ticket scalping means that someone intentionally reserves tickets and resells them with premium or even at extravagant prices. Due to these people, lots of people who eagerly want to have the tickets lose their chance to reserve them at a regular price. Some of them cannot help buying the scalped tickets even though they know that scalpers are making use of them. Moreover, when scalpers fail to resell the tickets, they just throw them away or cancel them right before the ticketing is over. Their purpose was not to use the tickets, so they do not have to retain them and take a risk of losing money. It can cause some damages to the hosts. Having vacancies implies that the show was not as successful as expected, and the seats that scalpers cancel will likely to be empty, which will make the event look less popular.
Some might say that there is no obvious reason to regulate ticket scalping. In their view, it is a natural phenomenon in the world of free market. People freely scalp tickets in some states, including Illinois, in the United States. The point is, however, that Korea does not accept it as a legal practice. In Korea, ticket scalping is illegal according to the Minor Offenses Act. So nowadays, scalpers changed their way; with the help of the development of the Internet, they started to sell the tickets online. They purchase tickets in bulk using macro and resell them with excessive premium at second-hand market websites or through SNS. This method is not contrary to the existing law related to ticket scalping because it does not cover the emerging cases using the Internet so far at least. For this reason, it is hard to punish scalpers with our current legal system.
Some efforts are underway to prevent or restrict ticket scalping. For instance, the hosts cancel the seats which are reported as illegally dealt or sold by someone who has unusually many seats. Nevertheless, it is quite hard to stop the scalpers because this method also has a lot of points to be improved. Also, some legislative bills that aim to crack down on online ticket scalping using macro have been proposed until now, but no one certainly knows whether it can pass into law or not. In these situations, it seems that ticket scalping will be rampant in the years to come.
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