/ Travel & Leisure

How would you change the ticket resale market?

Secondary tickets

Buying tickets? Well the days of waiting outside box offices or dispatching self-addressed envelopes are long gone. Adam Webb, of FanFair Alliance, joins us as a guest to explain why things haven’t necessarily changed for the good.

These days, tickets for gigs and festivals are mostly purchased at the click of a button, and increasingly via a mobile phone.

However, for the most in-demand events, things are often not quite so simple.

Ticket touts

At these shows, genuine fans face unfair competition from online touts who have the capability to hoover up significant volumes of tickets.

Combined with a ready-made ‘secondary’ marketplace, where tickets can be resold anonymously on platforms like Viagogo, StubHub, Get Me In! and Seatwave, then an already scarce supply is rendered scarcer.

Such is the scale of the ‘secondary’ business, that we frequently see thousands of tickets for the most popular shows listed on these sites before they have officially gone on sale.

The resale sites also carry considerable marketing weight and dominate search engine results, systematically directing would-be buyers towards touts operating on the secondary market – even when face value tickets are still available.

Seeking a solution

FanFair Alliance has received hundreds of complaints from members of the public who have mistakenly purchased a ‘resold’ ticket in the belief they were buying from a legitimate seller. As a result, back in March we published an online guide for audiences offering ten tips to beat the touts when buying music tickets online.

Many artists and their teams are fighting back too – taking preemptive measures to curb this industrial-scale rip off, and offering the facilities for genuinely unwanted tickets be resold at face value.

Ticket resales

This is something FanFair wholeheartedly endorses as we campaign for a transparent and properly functioning resale market.

And it’s also why we’re supporting Which? in its work around raising awareness to the problems with ticket resale sites and gathering case study experiences of those using ticket resale platforms.

So if you’ve recently bought tickets on platforms like Viagogo, StubHub, Get Me In! and Seatwave then please take five minutes to share your experience with Which?.

This is a guest contribution by Adam Webb of FanFair. All views expressed here are Adam’s own and not necessarily those also shared Which?.

So what have you bought resale tickets for an event before? What was your experience like?

Comments
Sunil Kapur says:
6 June 2017

I think it is quite possible to require ID to be shown at events, to prevent re-sale on secondary markets.

One very obnoxious practice is that some tickets are NEVER sold at face value. Promoters sometimes keep huge blocks of tickets, never sell them at face value and they are marketed at prices far above their face value. I do not understand why this is legal.

Harvey Goldsmith (Promoter) worked very hard to keep tickets in the hands of real fans. I think it is quite possible that a collective of promoters and global artists could take steps (e.g. provide ID, don’t withhold tickets to be sold at higher prices) to make it more difficult for touts and “legal secondary outlets” to re-sell at extortionate prices.

Paul says:
6 June 2017

The busiest indoor music venue in the world is the O2 Arena. The next O2 Arena event is Take That who will play 6 dates commencing today and finishing on 12th June. Currently, tickets can be purchased for less than face value across all dates on the secondary market. If you take Stubhub, the official re-sale market of the O2 Arena, you can currently buy tickets for take that at around 40% of face value. Unfortunately, within various campaigns and across the media, you only hear about the tickets that are listed and vastly inflated prices. The same campaigners are not keen to report that the majority of tickets on secondary sites are sold BELOW face value. Something that was identified by Professor Waterson in the government review into secondary ticketing.

Joan Mearman says:
6 June 2017

These sites should be monitored so they sell them at face value plus postage and nothing more. If this happened then more people would be able to buy them straight from the venues at the correct price.
Why do they want to buy these tickets so they can rip off the public it should not be allowed.

Kettlehead says:
7 June 2017

Why do we have re-sell sites at all? We only need a single official sales website for a particular event where we buy the tickets, and then just pick them up at the venue – a bit like a train ticket – from a ticket collection machine.
If you need to cancel you do so at the single website (full refund if done a reasonable amount of time before the event) and the tickets can be made available for resale immediately. No more touts. Simples!

Richard Hambridge says:
10 June 2017

I’ve never used them – nor do I intend to.

But then, I’ve never bought tickets to a concert, etc. !

colin says:
10 June 2017

My niece who lives in Australia, Purchased two tickets for the 2015 rugby world cup from what she thought was a re-seller site. turned out it was a scam site & she lost nearly $1000 Australian

Doug Cliffe says:
20 July 2017

Your article in the current issue of Which (August 2017) has clarified why I got stung when buying tickets for June’s Guns and Rosea concert. I ended up paying three times the original ticket price from Viagogo. It won’t happen again. Thanks,
Doug

Jo says:
20 July 2017

I think I must have hit lucky with viagogo site as got tickets for 02 tennis finals cheaper than ticket price fantastic seats 5 rows back – much better seat than the one I had for final day and paid more for through normal outlet – think you really have to check out what you’re paying for before you buy ….

Today the CMA have announced that secondary ticketing websites will be facing a severe crackdown: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2017/11/secondary-ticketing-websites-are-breaking-the-law/

I wouldn’t use the word “severe” to describe the new measures. Seems nothing of the sort.

Patrick Taylor says:
28 November 2017

Agreed. The article is very short of detail as to why it is severe. Seems to me simply saying some legal requirements are being ignored and that it is going to get antsy about it.

As for solving the situation of secondary ticketing as a business detrimental to consumers there is nothing to suggest any action on that.

Patrick Taylor says:
28 November 2017

I see this company is still head of the monthly complaints chart in NSW -they have form:
“27 August 2017

Consumers have been warned about using online ticket reseller Viagogo after a flurry of complaints, Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean announced today. Mr Kean said this year alone NSW Fair Trading had received 187 consumer complaints, and 237 enquiries, about the Swiss-based ticket exchange platform.

“Complaints to date have included delayed delivery, events being cancelled, heavily marked-up prices, hidden fees, and failure to provide refunds,” he said.“With most complaints relating to two or more tickets, Fair Trading has estimated around 600 consumers have been ripped off at a cost of almost $130,000.

“This is simply not good enough, when consumers buy a product they rightly expect to get what they pay for.“I’m putting consumers first and that’s why I’m issuing an urgent public warning about Viagogo’s unfair and unsatisfactory business services and practices.”

Mr Kean said Fair Trading had made more than 194 attempts to contact Viagogo to discuss the complaints, which had gone vastly unanswered until notice of the public warning was given.

Viagogo has also appeared on Fair Trading’s monthly Complaints Register eight times between November 2016 and July 2017, and was in the top five most complained about traders on five occasions.

“Viagogo says it will be more responsive in future; however, consumers should read all conditions carefully, and make credit card payments so they can claim a chargeback if necessary,” Mr Kean said.

“Until Viagogo adopts a more cooperative and professional approach, consumers are urged to be cautious using their website, and always check for available event tickets through an authorised primary ticket seller.”
For more information, go to http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or call 13 32 20.

Seems to me that as it is Swiss based one can be more robust than for an EU firm. I am left wondering if a failure to respond to an in-depth investigation could warrant any punitive action.

However in the scheme of things if people wish to pay over the odds …..

Perhaps Which? and the CMA could concentrate on the bigger consumer problem of unfair leases and the major builders acting in concert.

Patrick Taylor says:
28 November 2017

I see this company is still head of the monthly complaints chart in NSW -they have form:
“27 August 2017

Consumers have been warned about using online ticket reseller Viagogo after a flurry of complaints, Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean announced today. Mr Kean said this year alone NSW Fair Trading had received 187 consumer complaints, and 237 enquiries, about the Swiss-based ticket exchange platform.

“Complaints to date have included delayed delivery, events being cancelled, heavily marked-up prices, hidden fees, and failure to provide refunds,” he said.“With most complaints relating to two or more tickets, Fair Trading has estimated around 600 consumers have been ripped off at a cost of almost $130,000.

“This is simply not good enough, when consumers buy a product they rightly expect to get what they pay for.“I’m putting consumers first and that’s why I’m issuing an urgent public warning about Viagogo’s unfair and unsatisfactory business services and practices.”

Mr Kean said Fair Trading had made more than 194 attempts to contact Viagogo to discuss the complaints, which had gone vastly unanswered until notice of the public warning was given.

Viagogo has also appeared on Fair Trading’s monthly Complaints Register eight times between November 2016 and July 2017, and was in the top five most complained about traders on five occasions.

“Viagogo says it will be more responsive in future; however, consumers should read all conditions carefully, and make credit card payments so they can claim a chargeback if necessary,” Mr Kean said.

“Until Viagogo adopts a more cooperative and professional approach, consumers are urged to be cautious using their website, and always check for available event tickets through an authorised primary ticket seller.”
For more information, go to fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or call 13 32 20.

Seems to me that as it is Swiss based one can be more robust than for an EU firm. I am left wondering if a failure to respond to an in-depth investigation could warrant any punitive action.

However in the scheme of things if people wish to pay over the odds …..

Perhaps Which? and the CMA could concentrate on the bigger consumer problem of unfair leases and the major builders acting in concert.

The rip-off comes because currently re-sold tickets can be sold at a profit. This is taken advantage of by bulk-buying of tickets to explicitly re-sell. Genuine consumers are being taken advantage of. The key to cleaning up the market is to make it illegal to re-sell tickets at more than the face value of the ticket.

There are times where people buy a ticket to an event and then find out they are unable to attend. These people should be able to re-sell the ticket, but for no more than they paid for it in the first place. Indeed, most people with a genuine reason to re-sell would expect to make a small loss on any such transaction.

I quite agree. The number of tickets genuinely offered for reselling should be in very low percentages of the total number of available seats. The market has been systematically rigged.