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Update: give us a sporting chance at getting tickets

Football crowd

Frustrated fans struggling with secondary ticketing is not a particularly new issue, but the problem seems to be escalating. So what’s being done about it?

Last year our investigation into a Rugby World Cup 2015 ticket scam led fraud investigators to close down the ticket website Getsporting.com.

But, in the build-up to key events this year, like the Rio 2016 Olympics and the UEFA Euro 2016 finals in France, we’re concerned that more fans face disappointment from secondary ticket sites.

Devil’s in the detail

Many people don’t realise that they could be refused entry because they’ve bought from an unofficial site. An amendment to the Consumer Rights Act says that ticket sellers should identify specific seats or area where a ticket is located, details of any age restrictions, and the face value of the ticket.

But, in practice, that doesn’t always happen and fans can lose out.

Fan frustration

Frustrated fans spoke to Radio 5 Live yesterday about their ticketing nightmares.

One fan explained that they had purchased tickets for £250 tickets from a seller on Ticketbis to see Chelsea Football Club play. Realising something went wrong when no correspondence arrived, apart from confirmation of payment, they emailed repeatedly to get a response.

After being told that the tickets would arrive before the game, with less than a week to go, they hadn’t arrived. Then an email was received to say the tickets were no longer available.

Eventually, two tickets arrived at a face value of £25 each, but with a restricted view. This fan got in contact with Chelsea Football Club to ask if these tickets were genuine, but were informed that person who sold the tickets was banned from the club.

Our director of campaigns, Alex Neill, joined Radio 5 Live yesterday, where she explained;

‘The existence of the [secondary ticketing] market is good. But the issues come around not knowing the key information about the ticket. It’s not that the market shouldn’t exist, it’s that the rules need to be enforced.’

Fair for fans

There’s a widespread lack of information about terms and conditions for secondary ticket purchases. And we’re worried that the Rugby World Cup ticketing saga could repeat itself this year. Rules to govern secondary ticketing need to be enforced to make it operate better.

Many ticket resellers are keen to move the story to those legitimate individuals selling tickets for events they can no longer attend for one reason or another – but there are too many examples of ruthless profiteering with little regard for genuine fans.

We’ll continue to call on reselling sites to take responsibility for the information displayed on their websites and to ensure consumers have enough details to make an informed choice.

If you’re dealing with a new company make sure you conduct a thorough check online. Make sure to arm yourself with our top tips to identify and avoid dodgy ticketing websites before you part with your cash.

Update: 19 December 2016

It’s been a long time coming, but today the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into the secondary ticketing market.

While it’s not illegal to re-sell tickets, our research has found tickets being sold in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 on numerous occasions. And in November 2015 we monitored four of the biggest secondary ticketing websites and found evidence of fans missing out on tickets due to unusual selling patterns.

Looking at both the businesses selling tickets and secondary ticket selling platforms, the CMA’s investigation will consider the information provided about the identity of the seller; what connections the seller has to the event organiser; the restrictions around the use of resold tickets; and where the seat is located in the venue.

So have you spotted any dodgy ticketing sites and practices?


Maybe there would be less of a demand for secondary tickets if normal punters had a chance of getting tickets officially. Too often I hear of the latest event being sold out in x seconds or a few minutes.
These official sites need to do more to stop bots from agencies getting all the tickets just to sell on at a markup.
There will still be rogues fraudulently selling their tickets but as fans can get them more easily there should’ve less scope for this illegal trade.


Published Monday, December 19, 2016

This Commons briefing paper considers recent initiatives to regulate the secondary ticketing market, including important new measures contained in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015).

Jump to full report >>

Secondary ticketing is the deliberate resale of tickets for profit (sometimes referred to as “touting”). The issue of secondary ticketing has been the focus of significant attention for sports, music and other creative sectors over recent years. This Commons briefing paper considers recent initiatives to regulate the secondary ticketing market, including important new measures contained in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015). The Appendix contains detailed information on the background to this issue.
Following the introduction of the CRA 2015, the Government commissioned an independent report by Professor Michael Waterson to explore the effectiveness of consumer protection measures concerning online secondary ticketing facilities. Published in May 2016, Professor Waterson’s report made 9 recommendations to make the ticketing market work better for consumers. In June 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced a separate compliance review of the secondary ticketing market. The CMA is due to report before the end of the year.
Recently, Nigel Adams MP proposed a new clause to the Digital Economy Bill (currently progressing through Parliament) that would criminalise the misuse of so-called “bot” technology to unlawfully harvest event tickets. This new clause was debated during the eleventh sitting of the Public Bill Committee on 1 November 2016. It was withdrawn after Matt Hancock, the Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport), gave a commitment that the Government would convene a meeting of all interested parties before Christmas to discuss the issue.