Secondary ticketing websites are in the news again. Stubhub, Viagogo, Seatwave and Get Me In have been asked to make changes, such as clearly displaying how much more you’re paying for a second-hand ticket.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has written to four of the UK’s largest secondary ticketing websites to remind them of their obligations under consumer protection law.
Stubhub, Viagogo, Seatwave and Get Me In will have to present clearer and improved information to ticket buyers. This includes showing the original face value of the ticket, the location of seats and a contact email address to deal with any problems that might arise.
It’s good to see the CMA increasing transparency on these ticketing sites so that you have clearer information at the point of sale. We successfully campaigned to get primary ticketing websites to put all compulsory charges upfront, and now secondary websites are doing the same.
Changes to the secondary ticketing market
This comes hot on the heels of the Government’s announcement last week that it would introduce legislative changes in the secondary ticketing market, along with a statutory review of the industry. This is all contained within the Consumer Rights Bill, which is expected to pass the House of Commons on 9 March and gain Royal Assent soon after.
For the secondary market, the legislative changes should mean that the tickets being advertised do actually exist and are in the hands of the seller at the time of listing. This should help cut down on fraud and excessive ticket touting. But transparency about charges and the seat location is one thing, what you then pay for that ticket is a completely different matter.
And that is where things get tricky as some people want to ban or strictly control re-selling tickets. The review the Government will set up this summer will have to tackle thorny and complex issues like that. It will have to consider questions like:
- Is it fair and reasonable for an event promoter to include terms and conditions (which most already do) that there is no refund, no exchange and no re-selling of a ticket you’ve bought?
- Do you think you should be able to re-sell your ticket or get a refund? Should there be a limit on how much you can re-sell a ticket for?
- Are you confused by which websites are primary agents or promoters and which are secondary re-selling sites? Do you have concerns at how the distinction between promoters, venues, primary and secondary ticketing agents is getting blurred through acquisition and takeovers?
Your views will help us with our response to the Government review of the secondary ticketing market.