Viagogo argues against secondary ticketing regulation

January 2015

Live events sector


In an interesting response which impacts on the sports and events industry as much as live music, Secondary ticketing company Viagogo  has commented on efforts to regulate the resale of tickets online in the new consumer rights legislation that’s currently working it’s way through Parliament. The House of Lords voted to amend the Consumer Rights Bill so to include some secondary ticketing regulation, mainly stemming from a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Ticket Abuse. The proposed rules would oblige ticket sellers online to reveal their identity, to provide any specific information about the tickets being sold, to state the mark-up that has been added, and to draw a buyer’s attention to any terms and conditions on the ticket that could mean challenge any re-sale

Viagogo notes that forcing sellers to reveal their identity and information such as seat numbers would do more than just show up the prolific touting operations (and promoters and artists who tout their own tickets). It would possibly make it easier for anti-touting promoters to cancel tickets that a buyer attempts to resell. Whilst tghere has been an ongoing debate about what a ticket actually is, with the secondary arguing that it is a product that can be brought and then sold, a number of promoters have argued that a ticket is a contract between the promoter and the audience member that guarantees access to an event in return for money – but is subject to contractual terms – and many tickets include terms that say the ticket cannot be re-sold and is non-transferable and becomes void if transference takes place. Viagogo arguesthat the new regulations on the table in the Lords might change that, hindering the secondary market much more significantly than perhaps those supporting the new rules realise. A spokesperson for Viagogo told reporters: “We are in favour of making information clearer on our website and are constantly looking for new ways to do so. However, publishing the original seller’s identity is unnecessary because all tickets come with the Viagogo guarantee [ensuring refunds for invalid tickets], while publishing specific seat numbers allows rights owners to cancel tickets which are being legitimately resold. Anyone can see that is not in the consumer’s best interests” adding “Our view is supported by independent research from ComRes, which shows that 76% of British consumers believe a ticket is their property to resell if they wish. 77% would prefer to use a guaranteed secondary platform, while over a third would be willing to pay more than face value for a ticket”.

The Consumer Rights Bill will return to the House of Commons where the Lords’ amendments, including those on secondary ticketing, will be considered. The amendments are not government backed, so it remains to be seen if the ticket touting lines added in the Lords remain in the legislation as it goes through the final stages of the parliamentary process. 

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