To avoid the recurrence of large-scale consumer disputes stemming from disappointment due to last-minute cancellation of star players, and to strengthen the ticket refund mechanism and regulations on the venue safety liability, the Consumer Protection Committee (CPC) of the Executive Yuan has reviewed and approved the “Mandatory and Prohibitory Provisions of Standard Contracts for Sports Event Tickets.” These regulations have since been promulgated by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to protect consumers’ rights to purchase tickets and attend sport events.
In addition to prescribing a reviewing period of no less than three days and the method for reviewing the content of the contract, other key regulations are as follows:
I. Delineation of the scope of application
This case only applies to single-game tickets sold for sports competitions held domestically. “Season tickets,” which are a type of membership sale, do not fall within the scope of application.
II. Announcements before a match
(I) Before a match, vendors should announce a “list of players eligible to play” for the match. When changes are made to the list, vendors should notify consumers or make an announcement in a conspicuous manner to explain the reasons for the changes. If vendors fail to do so, consumers have the right to request a refund.
(II) The team or coach has the right to make decisions regarding player deployment. The players in the “list of players eligible to play” do not necessarily mean that they will participate in the match.
III. Regulating the ticket refund mechanism
(I) Time limit for ticket refund
1. Vendors shall clearly stipulate the time limit by which consumers can request a ticket refund before the match (excluding the day of the match and not exceeding seven days).
2. Due to circumstances not attributable to both parties (e.g., rain) and resulting in the match postponement, consumers are eligible for a ticket refund before the date of the rescheduled match.
(II) Transaction fee
1. When the reason for a ticket refund is attributable to the consumer: A transaction fee of up to 10% of the ticket face value may be charged.
2. When the reason for a ticket refund is not attributable to the consumer: No transaction fee shall be charged.
(III) Mechanism to prevent ticket scalping
1. For those who purchase tickets for resale to make a profit and not for personal use, vendors may refuse to provide a refund.
2. Whether the tickets are considered “not for personal use” can be determined based on the number of tickets being refunded and other relevant facts.
IV. Strengthening safety liability
(I) Regulations for entry
Vendors shall formulate regulations for entry (e.g., beverages in glass bottles or aluminum cans, straight umbrellas, and tripods are not allowed) to preserve the quality of the match and ensure the safety of athletes and consumers.
(II) Number of attendees
Due to considerations for public safety and evacuation, the number of tickets sold is specifically required not to exceed the “seating capacity” of the venue, or the number of audience prescribed by the agencies-in-charge at all levels.
Considering an ongoing match may be exposed to various risks (e.g., casualties due to a foul ball during a baseball game), vendors are specifically required to purchase public liability insurance.
The Executive Yuan's Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) reminds consumers to pay attention to whether information of tickets sold provided by vendors and the ticket refund mechanism comply with the “Mandatory and Prohibitory Provisions of Standard Contracts for Sports Event Tickets” before they purchase tickets for a sports event. In case of related consumer disputes, consumers can assert their rights or file consumer complaints against the vendors pursuant to the law to protect their own rights.
The DCP also urges organizers of sports events to avoid using advertising and marketing techniques that may be controversial when selling tickets so as to prevent “false advertising.” Information for tickets sold should comply with the “Mandatory and Prohibitory Provisions of Standard Contracts for Sports Event Tickets” and performance should be fulfilled accordingly. Should the contract content not conform to the said provisions, the content shall be revised within a prescribed period. For vendors who fail to do so within the prescribed time, the competent authority will impose a punishment in accordance with Article 56-1 of the Consumer Protection Act.