The Alberta government’s plan to better protect consumers by banning the use of scalper bots went into effect Wednesday.

The province said the ban will improve Albertan’s access to tickets from legitimate sellers by stopping the use of computer software, programmed to quickly buy tickets from the original seller before consumers have a chance.

The use of ticket scalper bots leads to limited availability of tickets, and inflated ticket prices from resellers, in addition to a higher risk of exposure to fraud.

The ban was included as part of Bill 31 in November 2017.

“We’ve heard, over and over again, that game and concert tickets sell out very quickly and Albertans aren’t able to see their favourite team or band,” Service Alberta Minister Brian Malkinson said in a statement. “When tickets are scarce, consumers are forced to pay sky-high prices or they are scammed by questionable sellers.”

Under the ban, sellers are required to use “reasonable diligence” to detect bots, and cancel tickets purchased by bots. The province said Service Alberta Consumer Investigations Unit has worked with the industry.

In addition to the bot ban, Bill 31 also includes a number of measures to protect consumers such as covering the consumers’ right to a full refund, which applies to event cancellations; fraudulent purchases or other issues, like invalid tickets; and the refund includes the price of the ticket and fees paid.

Only for-profit ticket resale businesses are required to issue refunds.

If an event is rescheduled, a reseller will have to offer a full refund and may also offer a replacement ticket – and the consumer can choose either of those options.

Under the legislation, consumers harmed by the use of bots (if they lose money, miss out on an event because the ticket bought through a reseller was cancelled as it was originally purchased by a bot, for example) have the right to sue those who use bots to buy tickets.

At this time, Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan are the only provinces to have bans on ticket bots. The Quebec government has passed legislation on the issue but it is not yet in effect.