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NY bill bans selling hot restaurant reservations on the ‘black market’

They’re taking “black market” reservations off the menu.

A new bill aimed at cracking down on internet scammers who prevent New Yorkers from going to their favorite eateries by reselling dinner reservations like concert tickets would ban scalpers who make it harder for people to get reservations at high-end New York restaurants.

The bill would penalize middlemen who book hard-to-book dining slots on websites like Resy and OpenTable and then resell them without the restaurants’ permission — some of whom can make as much as $70,000 a year, said Rep. Alex Boaz (D-Manhattan).

Prices range from $340 for a seat at posh Italian red sauce spot Carbone to $650 for a seat at trendy Polo Bar — and that’s before you even pay for the food.

Resellers are selling reservations at Carbone in the West Village for up to $450 per table. Gabi Porter

“This is completely absurd,” Bolles, who introduced the state bill, said of the practice.[It] It stops families who want to go out for a special meal to celebrate a graduation or couples who want to celebrate an anniversary.”

Reservations at Black Market, an Italian restaurant in the West Village, are selling for hundreds of dollars. Gabi Porter

“[Resellers] “It’s preventing New Yorkers from going to their favorite restaurants,” he added, calling the market “egregious.”

dubbing Restaurant Reservation Piracy Prevention BillThe legislation will also help prevent “no-shows” caused by food industry “scalpers” who fail to resell a place at a table on websites such as Appointment Trader.

Melissa Fleischut, president of the New York Restaurant Association, said scalpers have caused a triple increase in reservation cancellations in recent months, hurting a wide range of workers, from servers to chefs.

Rep. Alex Boaz (D-Manhattan) has introduced a bill that would ban third-party preorders. Getty Images

“This is a significant impact for restaurants that are trying to make a profit, pay their staff, keep everyone employed and pay their bills,” said Freischut, who supports the bill.

Andrew Riggie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Federation, said the bill would help crack down on such behavior.

“Restaurant reservation reselling is a long-standing problem, but the rise of third-party websites that facilitate reselling has caused the problem to explode,” he said. “So if we can ban them, that will reduce the unauthorized selling of reservations.”

The bill has been moving through the state Assembly and must be signed or vetoed by the governor by the end of the year.

The law provides for fines to be imposed on “third-party restaurant reservation services” that arrange “unauthorized reservations at restaurants.”

State Assemblyman Alex Boaz (D-Manhattan) said scalpers are causing problems by drawing customers into restaurants. Alex Boles/X

New York restaurant patrons welcomed the bill as an attempt to level the culinary playing field.

“I’m glad it’s banned,” said Will Levy, 34, as he dined at Cafe Dante in the West Village on Thursday. “It gives people with a lot of money an advantage over people who just want to go to their favorite restaurant and can’t afford to spend the extra money just to get there.”

Some black market sellers make a living by stealing reservations at popular New York City restaurants, including Italian restaurant Carbone in the West Village, Maison Close in SoHo and Ralph Lauren’s Polo Bar in Midtown.

Dinner reservations at Carbone were selling for roughly $150 to $450 on Appointment Trader on Thursday.

Other customers argued that reselling reservations was an unfair use of technology.

The website “Appointment Trader” is used for “black market” restaurant reservations. Appointment Trader

“The people who are buying and reselling reservations are using computer software to get the reservations right away before a human can get to them,” said George Kyriakos, 55, who was dining at Carbone’s on Thursday night.

“So the public who want to book with Carbone doesn’t have a chance.”

Ganesh Vilas Ubale, general manager of South Indian restaurant Sema, which has 1,151 names on a waiting list, also praised the bill, saying it would make dining out more affordable.

“I’m very happy that the bill passed. Everyone has embraced it, including the restaurants. It will work in our favor,” he said.

Resellers buy reservations at popular restaurants on websites like Resy and resell them for hundreds of dollars. Shutterstock / Andrey Baida

“When I first heard about the black market sales, I thought, oh my God,” he said. “They were charging people crazy prices.”

In May, representatives from Resy and more than a dozen restaurateurs Letter in support of the bill“Not only will this protect consumers, it will also support the sustainability of small businesses and the restaurant industry,” he said.

Carbone, Polo Bar and Maison Close did not respond to The Post’s requests for comment on Friday.

-Additional reporting by Valentina Jaramillo

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