/ Money, Shopping, Travel & Leisure

1D and U2 fans missing vital ticket details on top reselling websites

One Direction

Have you ever tried to buy a gig ticket on a resale website with no knowledge of where you’ll be sitting or how much the ticket originally cost? We have.

So, you’ve overslept and missed the big One Direction ticket sale – now what?

There always seem to be plenty of ‘fans’ happy to sell their sought-after tickets on resale sites soon afterwards. But how many sellers have no interest in the event and are simply setting themselves up as unnecessary middle men – turning a profit at the expense of real fans? Aka ‘touts’.

Consumer Rights Act breaches

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is supposed to make the secondary ticketing market more transparent and safe for us as fans. This means we should know the precise details of the tickets we’re buying, including the row, seat, face value, age restrictions, original seller and the original terms and conditions of sale.

However, our investigation of five resale ticketing websites found legally-required booking information, including seating information and the ticket’s face value, missing for top concerts and sporting events. This includes tickets for popular gigs like One Direction’s ‘On the Road Again’, U2’s ‘iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE’ tour and sporting events including the rugby Six Nations tournament.

We found tickets listed for sale on Seatwave, Viagogo and World Ticket Shop which failed to display the original face value of tickets. For example, tickets were being sold on Viagogo to a One Direction concert last month where the original cost was merely stated as between £44.55 and £72.60.

And we found tickets listed on Get Me In!, Seatwave, Stubhub, Viagogo and World Ticket Shop without clear information on where you’d be sitting. This would leave you unable to tell whether or not you’d have a good view or how far away you’ll be. After all, you wouldn’t want your view of Harry Styles et al obscured by a sound engineer.

Will your tickets get you in?

Plus, even though we saw a single ticket for the Rugby World Cup 2015 final being sold on Viagogo for a crazy £12,000, it wasn’t clear in the terms and conditions whether you’d actually be allowed past the turnstiles if you bought this ticket from the site.

Imagine the scene: a herd of rugby fans furious after parting with hundreds or even thousands of pounds and travelling all the way to the venue only to be turned away!

Resale sites must take responsibility

So is it the responsibility of the ticketing websites or the ticket sellers themselves to ensure that consumers get all this information? Sadly, the Consumer Rights Act isn’t clear on this.

Get Me In!, Seatwave (both owned by Ticketmaster) and StubHub all told us that the seller who lists the tickets on their platform is responsible for providing the correct information – but they do take action against tickets incorrectly listed.

WorldTicketShop told us it’s working with lawyers and organisations like Which? ‘to ensure our marketplaces comply with the provisions of the Act’. Viagogo is yet to respond.

We think the ticket companies should take responsibility for their websites and do the right thing. In short, they should only list tickets for sale which meet the legal requirements.

Have you benefited from buying or selling tickets on a resale site – or have you had problems that could have been resolved if you’d had the correct information?

Comments
Profile photo of Lee Beaumont
Member

Not often I go to gigs, but have to agree 100% with this story, plus it’s been going on years & nothing is ever being done about it.

Just think, a sweet little 14 year old girl wants to see One Direction (I hear there a big boyband), her dad spends time, and money, stupids amount of money so she can see them. Yeah it’s good of the dad, but should he really be doing that?

I feel there needs to be more laws regarding this, maybe fix the price of tickets so if you do need to sell-on, you have to sell them on for face value, not a penny more.

More needs to be done on this problem.

Profile photo of Adam French
Member

There are other companies in the market who offer a fan to fan ticket exchange at face value e.g. twickets.co.uk – Or examples like the Rugby World Cup operating their own ticket resales at face value through their official ticketing platform (and I’m grateful for that as I’ve picked up a few tickets to games that way).

Is it a question of consumers making the rights choice first and foremost? Or if people are willing to pay these exorbitant sums does it not prove that there is a place for these prices and market demand for these resale sites?

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
Member

Following the line of argument in your final paragraph surely then leads to the conclusion that this is then a non-story in terms of the iniquity of ticket re-sale sites.

I suspect the real story of interest is where by some mechanisms favoured people are able to buy many seats at very popular gigs. I have no idea what the situation is but the general rule of follow the money as espoused by the “Undercover Economist” .

As to ” We think the ticket companies should take responsibility for their websites and do the right thing. In short, they should only list tickets for sale which meet the legal requirements.”
For Pete’s sake Which? has super complianant powers and the budget to employ some serious legal firepower so why doesn’t it tell us it is doing something about it rather than just see it as another Conversation article?

Raise the clear-cut problem and tell us what you are going to do about about it – it would be a great advertisement for Which? being useful.

* BTW quoting the relevant parts of the Act would assist readers who have a passing interest and some knowledge of law.

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
Member

I assume that someone has the power to enforce the law. The application of the law to on-line sites, regardless of their indirect role , surely is not beyond the wit of man. They are complicit in facilitating the breaking of the law.

How about Which? giving answers to problems ?

Profile photo of PhillipWSmith
Member

The original report says fans are often left with no choice but to use the secondary sites. They do. Chose not to go. Parents can choose not to buy the tickets. Fans can choose to go to a smaller show at their local independent or Local Authority venue. They need your support more than ever. Much better than spending both arms and legs to be three miles from the stage in row triple Z.

Member
John Lockyer says:
16 November 2015

The law is clearly being broken by these sites and people are being ripped off. The money that fans /audience members pay should be going to those providing the event, not to touts. I would like Which? to campaign strongly for the law to be tightened and for the existing law to be enforced.

Member

I have to question what is actually happening here. On 3 separate occasions recently we tried to purchase Priority tickets /pre-sale tickets . Within minutes of the sale beginning several of ticketmasters *partner * resale sites had tickets available at more that double and triple the face value of tickets.

We have also complained to Ticketmaster who we bought 02 Priority tickets through about the restricted view we had and they passed the buck first to the venue then the promoter who has tried to brush us off. They are not adhering to the legal guidelines so I would have to say I believe Ticket Touts at the Venues are probably ripping off few customers.

Member
Richard Tiffin says:
22 May 2016

I see that the which report has provoked this debate at Westminster, yet again. My guess is the government will fudge the issue, yet again, as they will side with big business, yet again, against consumers, so no shock there then.

I think the law needs to be tightened so that an individual who buys a ticket and cannot attend the event, for whatever reason, can sell the ticket back to the venue and nobody else. Venue’s can be protected with a minimum period between return and event, though with popular events they can choose to waive this minimum period at their discretion. If the ticket holder is unable to attend the event inside this period (perhaps three days prior to an event) they forfeit the ticket other than at the venues discretion.

Anybody other than the venue or their agent caught selling tickets other than back to the venue will be breaking the law.

Venue’s will be fully entitled to use agents to sell their tickets for a fee, including the resale of any returns the venue receives. However, a record of the returns must be kept by venues and resale MUST be at face value, either directly by the venue or through their agents.

Law along these lines will take the profit out of resale and that will take the market out. This will protect consumer; venues can save money as they won’t have to independently develop their own selling systems as they can still use agents (other than a phone operative that will be required for returns); ticket selling agents can still charge a fee in order to develop their business and make a profit. All that will be removed is the profiteering and unhappy consumers.

They make it illegal to resell football tickets and train tickets, it wouldn’t be hard to introduce similar legislation in other popular events from the arts and sport, or any other cultural event. I shall not be holding my breath though.

Member
Tracey kempson says:
12 October 2016

Another example of this hideous practice. Drake tickets on sale today via O2 priority, their website crashes (due to touts??) within 30 minutes tickets being resold at 100% mark up on the resellers websites! Ridiculous!!!

Member
IfeelRobbed says:
21 November 2016

Sorry for the length of this post – but I somehow needed to get this off my chest!
I am pretty inexperienced when it comes to concert going and buying tickets, but yesterday I had the misfortune to witness first hand the underhand dealings by supposedly primary ticket re-sellers in this marketplace during my desperate attempt to get tickets for Bruno Mars. I came away from this experience feeling contempt for the allegedly scrupulous primary ticket sites.
Anyway ahead of time I knew that these tickets would go on sale at 10 am 21st Nov 2016 by Ticketmaster. But to my surprise the day before on the 20th November my wife exclaimed to me, “Bruno tickets are on sale now and they are going fast”. I stated that can’t be as they don’t go on sale while tomorrow! So I checked it out and yes there they were being sold for highly inflated prices (3 or 4 times face value), I was dumbfounded, I couldn’t explain how they were selling them ahead of the stated sales dates, but exclaimed to my wife they must be dodgy sites, we will wait until tomorrow 10 am and get them nearer to the face value prices, from the reputable companies like Ticketmaster.
Meanwhile I was intrigued, who are these sites selling them ahead of time, and how did they get the tickets? To my surprise I learned the site selling them in advance of the release date – GETMEIN – was actually a Ticketmaster company, a supposedly reputable Primary ticketing company and they were selling them speculatively (tongue in cheek as I’m sure Ticketmaster knew what their ticketholding was)!!
In any case, as planned there I was next day, mouse poised to strike the second they came on sale on Ticketmaster, but then, to my horror, a second was obviously too long, there was no tickets for sale anywahere!! SOLD OUT everywhere, no matter which venue I chose, whether to sit or stand, nothing! How can that be – sold in literally 1 second flat!
Eventually after clicking every “normal” ticket sale option and being greeted by the sold out dialogue, I was inquisitive as to what the “Hot Tickets, Gold, Silver and Bronze” options were – I clicked through – and guess what, they were just the normal tickets being sold at prices way over face value with a lanyard thrown in!!
I have been duped and had woefully misplaced my trust in Ticketmaster.

So my only conclusions are:
Ticketmaster never really had any intention of selling at Face value if they could sell them all the day before through their sister company!
Their sister company sold the majority of their ticket holding speculatively the day before the “official” sale at hugely inflated prices!
Any tickets they didn’t sell speculatively (or in a mild attempt to comply with some sort of form of self responsibility – held some back). They didn’t put any of these tickets on sale at face value on the Ticketmaster site on their actively marketed day of release!
They marketed any remaining tickets as Hot Tickets and sold them at highly inflated prices with some irrelevant “goodies” such as a lanyard and some sort of priority booking in process
Ticketmaster should be renamed Dick Turpin – as it was pure Highway Robbery – face value has no relevance whatsoever , and it appears they can legally get away with this and elevate the prices to what they seem fit.
Can we really call Ticketmaster a primary site when their secondary site sells virtually all the tickets ahead of release date!!

Member
Marie Kennedy says:
6 May 2017

Thank you for highlighting the problem of secondary resale sites.  I have only recently become aware of this situation as I very rarely buy tickets online.  I have tried to contact the Government webpages and Which.  The Government webpage has been allowing complaints but, as a result of the general election, complaints need to restart!!  I need to contact Jeremy Corbyn or more fair minded people about this one.

I was recently alerted to tickets for sale at the Andy Murray Tennis Exhibition due to be held later this year (November 2017).  I went online the day afterwards and paid an extortionate amount to Viagogo to reserve tickets, which for me, was a once in a lifetime event to watch him play Roger Federer.  I booked a hotel In Glasgow immediately and have made arrangements for my dog to be held over night by a paid carer.

I expected the tickets immediately but on checking have realised there are no seat numbers only a very general block booking.  My money was taken out of my account immediately and I have been sent an ID no. but also told that the tickets will not arrive until at least three days before the event.  By then, I have a feeling I may have been scammed. 

I would like to add my voice to the probably hundreds of complaints and would like the Government, Media and Sports stars to add their voices to these campaigns, although I do recognise that Andy Murray is not to be held personally responsible.

Many thanks for your help.

Member
Claire Offord says:
15 June 2017

Always the same – whenever I try to buy tickets for a rock concert I get “in a queue” then “sold out” and with-in seconds of the tickets going on sale they are on ticket resale sites such as “get me in” for 3 or 4 times the face value. I do not understand why the government won’t make this type of resale illegal as they have done for football tickets – what’s the difference? In fact I would say for concert tickets it is more important as football teams play every week, not once in maybe 3 or 4 years. And I refuse to pay inflated prices as a matter of principal so I rarely get to see the bands I would like to see.

Member
elsie angus says:
23 July 2017

On 14July at 9am I tried to buy tickets for The Killers in Glasgow from Ticketmaster.None available at 9am.I was redirected to Viagogo.Saw x2 tickets for £90 each. Entered my details and right at end of this price of £375.75 appeared. A message asking If I wished to proceed was duly told NO I did not.A further question asked why and I ticked box saying price too high. Another message saying along the lines of sorry about that your comments help our customer service to improve.Then to my horror a final message stating Congratulations you are going to see the Killers.I have contacted Viagogo four times to no avail.
I feel like I have been mugged in broad daylight and no one seems to be able to do anything about it. I really appreciate your campaign.