/ Money, Shopping, Travel & Leisure

Is buying second-hand tickets about to get better?

Tickets shop at funfair

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.

Daniel Collins says:
22 April 2015

This really bugs me, there’s so many events or music do’s I want to go to but I don’t think buying tickets 9 months in advance is reasonable.

Anyway – I don’t think it’s fair people should buy large quantities of tickets just to sell. I think there should a strict no-resale on tickets (or non-transferrence) but allow for refunds. Then, at least the tickets go back to a central pool to be re-sold at the same price.

I wanted to see Beyonce a year ago, I couldn’t because all reasonalby priced sickets had been sold. Just leaving second-hand tickets at well north of £400.

John Graves says:
5 June 2015

In November 2014 I was looking for tickets to “the Who” concert on June 26th in Hyde Park. Seeing the website for Getmein described as part of Ticketmaster (registered trade mark) who I had heard of and seeing the site described as the official marketplace I assumed I had found the genuine ticket agency for the concert and bought 5 tickets.
The tickets I bought were not the cheapest shown but at the time I thought that there was some seating and so was prepared to pay more for them. I therefore paid some £850 for five tickets plus fees, plus delivery and fairly promptly received an order confirmation by email which stated that the five tickets were £142.97 each, that they were general admission and that “your seats will be together”
I thought no more about it other than think that it was odd that they could not say more about where the seats were.
Needless to say, when the tickets turned up yesterday they are general admission, there are no seats and they have a face value of £69 each!
Apart from severely kicking myself for not reading all the small print properly, I wonder if there is anything I can do apart from advising anyone to stay well clear of both Ticketmaster and getmein.
I realise now that these are second hand tickets but do the facts that I paid by credit card and have an order confirmation stating that “your seats will be together” give me any grounds for for going after them for breach of contract? Also, would I be able to continue this with only the ticket stubs after going to the concert and sitting on the ground?

Morning John, I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t get the correct tickets you bought. Have you read through some of our useful consumer rights guides about what you can do?:



In your position, I’d also get in touch with STAR for some further advice:


Just tried to book Barry Manilow tickets through Ticket Master. Every time I try to book tickets it says “sorry not available, but then redirects to their other website called Get Me In. Here I can buy any ticket I want, but they are over TWICE the price. Surely this is legalised ticket touting. They have no intention of selling the tickets at face value. They have all the tickets and know they can demand what they want for them. The law needs to change to stop this practice.
Is there a way to avoid this other than buy from the venue, which is a 2 hour drive away.

I question whether this form of selling is even “legalised ticket touting” – it is illegal deception. Touts act as middlemen. The companies cited have cut out the middlemen and are trading their own stock at extortionate rates on the dishonest premise that all their seats have sold out.

You might like to see a more recent Conversation called “Purple rage – the re-sale tickets stitch-up” launched on 13 November 2015.

1.0 ….. There seems to be some confusion between
1.1….. Second hand tickets
1.2….. Secondary sale of tickets

1.1 .. are tickets which have been used, but still have some ‘life’ left in them, no?
Why, if I’ve paid £5.50 for parking , and there’s time left that I’ve paid for, can’t I
1.1.1.. Sell the un-used time on
1.1.2… GIVE the ticket to someone for their use
without both parties being dragged before some Magistrate or other?
1.2….. Secondary sale of tickets
WHAT is wrong with that, it’s the Iron Law of
Supply and Demand
the very basis of our wonderful capit-a-list society.

I have the Dosh to set up work
You have the muscle and blood to do it
There are more of you wanting what I’ve got, than what I’ve got.
So I call the tune.
And when you say you don’t like that, and organize
I tell MY politicians to make withholding your supply to my demand ILLEGAL.
Gotcha !

As Pete Seeger sang “Which Side Are You On ?”

My daughter wanted tickets to a sold concert in London’s 02 Islington venue. She went onto viagogo and the website had a ticking clock (pressurised selling) stating she was the first in line andhad ten minutes to purchase the ticket. I knew how much she wanted to go and although it was £40 for the ticket, I thought I would buy it for her as she couldn’t see any other gigs he was doing later on in the year including at festivals. When I purchased, the bill came to around £55. But what really shocked me was an email the next day which in tiny print mentioned my purchase was a staggering £79! Had I missed this email I would not have known that this huge amount of money was leaving my account. I immediately contact viagogo demanding a refund as I had not purchased a ticket based on paying double the price of the ticket. It took most of the day to sort it all out, but in the end I discovered that they had sold the ticket to us without even having a ticket to sell! This had been based on someone saying they had a ticket to sell but the seller didn’t produce it. I think that is the reason I got my money back. A very suspect operation!