Australia senator proposes nationwide anti-scalping laws

May 2014

Live events sector


In Australia a senate Economics References Committee (SERC) member has called for a national law to be introduced to tackle the “scourge” of ticket touting. The independent senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, made the plea following the release of a SERC inquiry report on the subject, which made recommendations based on evidence supplied by 21 parties. Xenophon instigated the enquiry after disquiet over tickets for shows such as One Direction’s Australian GTour, priced at A$79, were being re-sold in eBay for A$4,000. The Senator called for “clear national consumer protection law that brings to an end this scourge on music and sports events”. The senator is keen on measures including a cap on the price of resale tickets, ticket sales to be subject to statutory consumer protection measures prohibiting and for secondary sites to reveal the of identify sellers. He also said promoters and other primary sellers should make the public aware of the number of tickets being sold and those being passed on to others including sponsors and  secondary markets.  New South Wale has already begun the process of implementing state laws to govern the re-sale of tickets – capping any  mark up at 10% above face value. Websites and others flouting the law (currently before the Upper House) could be fined up to A$5,500.

In The UK a Which? campaign demanding online ticket sellers “play fair on fees” is gathering momentum. Nearly 50,000 people have signed up since December in an attempt to get all ticket companies and entertainment venues to show compulsory charges up front, and to justify their fees. As a result of the Which? campaign, several companies now display all their fees upfront, including Ticketmaster, BH Live, ATG, See Tickets and ticketSOUP. Since September 2013, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has been conducting comprehensive enforcement work to make sure that ticket sellers are upfront about compulsory admin fees so that consumers aren’t misled.

In related news, Paul Weller has ruled himself out of getting involved with future Record Store Days, after copies of his limited edition seven-inch single, ‘Brand New Toy’, released for the event, wound up on eBay. In a message on his website, he wrote: “I agree with all of you who have sent messages expressing your anger and disappointment at the exploitation of these ‘limited editions’ by touts. Apart from making the record, the rest has very little to do with me but I am disheartened by the whole thing and unfortunately I won’t be taking part in Record Store Day again”. Record Store Day responded with its own statement, saying: “We share Paul Weller’s frustration at evidence that ‘Brand New Toy’ has been offered for sale on eBay, and we are disappointed that despite our best efforts to drive out the touts, once again some people are seeking to exploit the goodwill of artists and labels by selling RSD exclusives at vastly-inflated prices on eBay”  Issue 171, April 2014

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