‘Look what you made me do’: Minnesota lawmakers pass proposals to crack down on ticket, junk fees

Two people show off decorated jackets.
Brittney Riehle, right, and her mother Ruth Ann show the jackets they diamond-painted by hand before the second night of Taylor Swift's Eras tour June 24 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Nicole Neri for MPR News | 2023

Minnesota lawmakers on Thursday voted to crack down on the add-on fees for everything from concert tickets to hotel rooms and restaurant bills. 

A pair of bills pending in the Minnesota Legislature would require transparent, upfront pricing that includes service fees. 

“Think about the last time you bought something online — an airline ticket, a hotel room, tickets for opening day for the Twins, a new phone,” Rep. Emma Greenman, DFL-Minneapolis, told reporters ahead of the House debate on her bill. “Was the price that you paid the one that you saw when you started that transaction?” 

National ticket resale companies have testified the legislation would hurt consumers by restricting their role in the market. Republicans during the floor debate said the measure would have little impact on prices, but would keep buyers in the dark about what feeds into the total.

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“The problem with this language overall, of course, is that it forces businesses to hide all of the government mandates imposed on these businesses and it forces the business to show these things to a customer as though they just want to raise prices,” Rep. Anne Neu Brindley, R-North Branch, said. “This bill is the hide government fees and taxes bill.”

The proposal passed on a vote of 70-61. It moves next to the Senate for a vote.

Another proposal — House File 1989, which has been dubbed the Taylor Swift bill — would require all-in pricing when tickets are sold or resold. And it bans bot services from buying up tickets and driving up costs for prospective buyers.

Hundreds of fans lined up outside U.S. Bank Stadium
Hundreds of fans lined up outside U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis as early as 1 a.m. to get merch ahead of the Taylor Swift concert on June 23.
Kaila White | MPR News 2023

“This really will allow the consumer to know up front when they start to look for tickets what the total cost is going to be. They’re not going to have to wait until the end to figure that out,” said Rep. Kelly Moller, DFL-Shoreview, who donned a T-Swift T-shirt to mark the occasion.

GOP lawmakers in the chamber raised concerns about boxing out the secondary ticket resale market or barring them from using logos descriptors that would help buyers understand details about events. But ultimately, most supported the proposal.

“Having consumers know what they’re getting and having that certainty, this is a bill that I believe is a step in the right direction,” Rep. Nolan West, R-Blaine, said.

The proposal passed the House on a vote of 112-18 and moves next to the Senate for a vote.