Next weekend, Glasgow will host over 15,000 music fans at BBC 6 Music Festival – but how many are at risk of being turned away on the night?
Tickets for the BBC 6 Music Festival are listed on secondary ticket site Viagogo, even though anyone trying to use resold tickets has been warned they will be refused entry.
We advise people not to buy secondary tickets by third party websites as these tickets will not be valid on entry to the #6MusicFestival
— BBC Radio 6 Music (@BBC6Music) February 24, 2017
Touts use sites such as Viagogo, StubHub (owned by eBay), Get Me In! and Seatwave (both Ticketmaster-owned) to flog second-hand tickets for profit.
In an attempt to stop this, the government announced this weekend that anyone caught using computer software known as ‘bots’ to bulk buy tickets unfairly will face unlimited fines.
This should give fans a fairer chance at getting their hands on tickets when they go on sale – but is more needed to tackle problems when tickets are re-sold?
Will you get into the 6 Music Festival?
Tickets for 6 Music Festival were sold exclusively through Ticketweb (via a link from a BBC web page) at 10am on Friday 24 February, restricted to four per customer for each event.
A lead booker was assigned at the point of sale, and this name is printed on the tickets.
The most popular events planned over the long weekend had gone within minutes, and the festival was completely sold out by lunchtime the following day.
By that time, tickets had already appeared on Viagogo, for 16 times the original face value in some cases.
Viagogo boasts that it can ‘guarantee that you’ll get valid tickets in time for the event’ – and you’d certainly hope so when you’re paying £500 a ticket.
The BBC says the lead booker must present ID at the door, and anyone who fails to do so won’t get in.
It seems that buyers will either have to be accompanied into the venue by the original purchaser when they pick up the tickets on the day, or risk attending the event without the lead booker (and keep their fingers crossed for lax security).
Is it wrong to sell tickets for profit?
It isn’t illegal to resell tickets for profit (with the exception of some sporting events) and it’s often pointed out that no one is forced to pay over the odds on any of the resale sites. But the lack of transparency is a problem.
A previous Which? investigation into secondary ticketing found tickets appearing simultaneously on primary and secondary sites, and sometimes before they were even officially released.
We also saw resale restrictions and consumer laws repeatedly being ignored.
What’s being done to tackle touting?
Making it a criminal offence to bulk buy tickets using ‘bots’ should help. Touts caught breaking this new law will face unlimited fines, following an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill.
The Competition and Markets Authority has also opened an investigation into suspected breaches of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, following an initial review of the four main secondary ticketing websites.
High volume sellers, or ‘power sellers’, could even face an enquiry from HMRC, amid claims that they under-report profits. But does all this go far enough?
Have you ever been turned away after buying tickets from a resale site? Do you think consumers need more protection?