Branson’s newest aldermen is looking to level what he says has become an uneven playing field with ticket resellers in the community.
Larry Milton, who was elected to the city’s board of aldermen in April, said there has been a problem with deceptive practices from some ticket resellers, and those deceptive practices have only grown in the past year.
“It’s been an issue for quite a while, it’s just been getting to be a larger problem, especially about a year ago,” Milton said. “Six months ago it was getting real loud, and when I decided to run for alderman, I had a ton of theaters and shows sit with me and ask if there’s anything we can do.”
Ticket resale businesses purchase bulk tickets from shows at a discounted rate and then sells them for a profit. The perceived benefit for shows is that they get cash up-front, and the resellers help promote the shows.
Milton said the practice ultimately hurts area shows, and in some cases, results in resellers falsely claiming a show is sold out.
“If you don’t give them a rock-bottom price they won’t market you or, in some instances, say the show is not available or sold out and sell another ticket,” Milton said.
It’s a system Milton said has resulted in shows being unable to expand to larger productions.
“With the current system, with the heavy discounting, they pretty much know if they don’t give the discounts, it’s a two-pronged problem,” Milton said. “The resellers aren’t selling them, and, in my opinion, the CVB is not promoting our shows as much as would be good for our community.”
When asked what could be done to combat this, Milton cited a state law, Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, which he said “prohibits the use or employment by any person of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, unfair practice or the concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise in trade or commerce.”
Milton said he posted the text of the law on social media to let those in the community know what they can do.
“That’s one of the first steps we can start to at least subdue that lying, cheating and stealing,” Milton said.
“I put the burden back on them to say there’s a law in place, document those who are not doing business directly, and we’ll take action. I’ve offered them to bring me the evidence and I’ll take it to our attorney general and put a stop to that practice.”