Many venues and organisations in the ticketing industry welcomed the November 2014 move by the UK House of Lords to add clauses to current legislation going through Parliament to extend the Consumer Rights Act. In a defeat for the Coalition Government, a cross-party coalition of Peers passed an amendment to curb the actions of ticket touts and to increase transparency in the event ticket resale market.
The amendments mean secondary market re-sellers and touts selling their tickets through major internet platforms like Seatwave and Viagogo will have to prominently disclose key facts to potential customers, including:
- Their identity, particularly where they are selling tickets as a business;
- The original face value of the tickets being sold;
- The individual characteristics of the tickets being sold, such as the seat number or the booking reference, and;
- Whether the terms and conditions on the ticket mean that it can be cancelled if the organisers find out it has been resold.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, which held an inquiry at the beginning of 2014 into the secondary ticketing market, hope that the information being made public will enable event holders to identify the largest ticket touts and prevent them from buying up large quantities of tickets to re-sell, leaving ordinary fans with a better chance of getting tickets at face value, instead of being forced to pay inflated amounts on the secondary market.
It is almost 3 years since Channel 4 Television’s Dispatches programme: The Great Ticket Scandal, exposed how secondary platforms court major ticket touts and take allocations directly from promoters to sell on, above face value, to unsuspecting consumers.
And it is almost 2 years since Operation Podium, the Police unit set up to tackle Olympics-related crime, produced a report calling for legislation to tackle “unscrupulous practices, a lack of transparency and fraud” within the secondary market.
Of course, in this crazy world of ours, there are people in the ticketing industry happy to perpetrate this fraudulent and/or unscrupulous activity, and a UK Coalition Government that prefers to encourage rip-off Britain in the name of market ideology, at the expense of the public. So there is some dismay at the passage of the amendments, and plans to lobby Parliament against the amendment when the bill returns to the House of Commons. You might think that if you are honest, not planning fraudulent activity, not intending to rip people off, then you have nothing to fear from this consumer protection.