The regulator has announced it’s taking enforcement action against ticketing companies who aren’t following the rules. But will this finally fix the ticket resale market for genuine fans?
When it comes to buying tickets to the latest music and sporting events, I’m completely out of the loop. I often don’t even realise some of my favourite artists are in town until a few weeks before, by which point the tickets are all long gone. So picking up someone else’s spares on a secondary ticket website can often be the only way I’ll get in.
The trouble with that is that these secondary ticketing websites often don’t show all of the information they are required to, meaning it can be hard to know whether your night out is likely to turn into a nightmare. But this could all change…
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced today that it will take enforcement action against secondary ticketing websites suspected of breaking consumer protection law.
Last year, following concerns about the secondary ticketing market highlighted by us and others, the regulator announced that it would open up an investigation. And it has now reported back.
While the CMA has noted there have been some improvements over the last 12 months, there is still more the industry needs to do to clean up its act.
While the regulator hasn’t yet named the websites it’s concerned about, our research has repeatedly found examples where secondary ticketing sites aren’t giving you the information you need to make an informed decision. This is information such as the face value price of tickets as well as information like block, row and seat numbers.
Much like our own research findings, the regulator found information lacking around exactly where in a venue the seat is located or even if there are any restrictions on the ticket that could stop you from getting in.
It reported that there’s a lack of clarity around who is actually selling the tickets on these sites. Without this information, you don’t always know if you are buying from another individual with a spare ticket, or if the seller is a business or an event organiser which would mean you had more consumer protections.
The regulator is also concerned about whether you are able to get a refund when you are entitled to one, and whether people should be allowed to sell on tickets that they don’t physically have.
Fixing it for fans
The CMA announced that it will also be widening its investigation to look at issues like pressure selling, where you are led to believe lots of others are interested in the last few tickets. It will also be looking at whether some sporting events have sold tickets as a primary seller but via a secondary ticket website, without making this clear to ticket buyers.
A few months ago we asked you to tell us your experiences of using secondary ticketing sites. Almost half (49%) of you who had bought tickets said you thought that the website was the official ticket seller.
With people increasingly using these sites to buy tickets, it’s right that the regulator is taking action against companies that aren’t playing by the rules. We want to see this action now lead to greater transparency so that people have a better chance of getting the best tickets for popular events.
Have you bought tickets from a secondary site? Do you think action by the regulator will help fix the ticketing market?