/ Travel & Leisure

Have resale tickets ever shut you out?

secondary ticket market

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.

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.

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?

Comments
Guest
Bruce Falconer says:
13 March 2017

Start by disconnecting Ticketmaster and the like from having an interest in the secondary selling sites. Vested interest prevents them from really wanting to solve the issue. Make ID compulsory at gigs as well. I doubt genuine fas who would subsequently get tickets would have a problem showing proof of ID. It is currently a faceless crime but how can every major gig be sold out immediately while these same tickets are immediately available at vastly increased prices – this is not fans who have had to suddenly sell because of a change in plans – this is deliberate ripping the fans off and the main selling agents are profiteering on the back of it. END THIS PRACTICE of reselling tickets on these sites.

Profile photo of John Ward
Guest

Bruce is absolutely right. The solution to this problem has been staring the government, the artistes, and the venues in the face for a long time now but they just will not acknowledge it. A primary seller cannot also be a secondary seller just by having a different name; extensive market-rigging collusion is taking place and all that has happened has been a bit of tinkering around the edges. Life has been made much more difficult for the wrong people. A few fly-boys and street touts have had their wings clipped but those for whom life should be getting more difficult are continuing to get away with ramping on an industrial scale. ‘Reselling’ is the wrong word – most of the tickets have never genuinely been bought in the first place but have been held back from initial release in order to exploit fans disappointed by the quick, but false, sell-out.

Profile photo of Chiara Cavaglieri
Guest

It’s something I would love to get to the bottom of – the number of tickets that pass directly to the secondary market. Suspicions of primary sites colluding with secondary sites were recently confirmed when Live Nation Italy managing director Roberto de Luca admitted in a TV interview that he has has passed on tickets directly to Viagogo (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-37985565) .

Guest
bishbut says:
14 March 2017

The obsession of some fans that they must have a ticket never mind the costs or risks involved in getting one does not help either The system of selling tickets for very popular events is all wrong How is it that ALL tickets can be sold out in a few short minutes then some go any lengths just to get hold of any ticket anyway they can

Profile photo of Chiara Cavaglieri
Guest

Another problem is that it’s not always easy to tell if an event is actually sold out (because of the way tickets are allocated). Or that you are buying from a secondary site in the first place, for example, I often see sites such as Viagogo at the top of Google (paid-for ads) when I search for tickets.