Live events sector
In the UK, the House of Lords has passed an amendment that anti-touting campaigners say will strengthen the position of consumers who use secondary ticketing sites.
Whilst the UK government now supports the recommendations made in the Waterson report, an independent review which recommended no new legislation against secondary ticketing but did suggest proper enforcement of the existing Consumer Rights Act (CRA) 2015, the new amendment to the Digital Economy Bill is opposed by the government
Despite the opposition, the Lords voted 180–157 in favour of the amendment, which would require sites such Seatwave, Get Me In!, StubHub and Viagogo to provide the ticket reference or booking number, as well as any specific condition attached to the resale of the ticket. Under the current legislation, secondary sites are already obliged to list the original face value, seat/row numbers and any usage restrictions.
Conservative peer Lord Moynihan, a former sports minister and Olympic rowing coxswain, said: “We do not want to ban the [secondary] market, although noble Lords did so for the Olympic Games in London 2012. Similarly, this is not about a cap on resale prices. It is perfectly within the conclusions [of], and the government’s response to, the Waterson report, to move ahead with this simple but effective remedy” adding “It is not costly; it is about the cost of a phone call […] to say: ‘Your original ticket had a unique reference number on it. I want to check that the one I have bought from StubHub or one of the other secondary sites is for real. Can you tell me whether that same number, which does not exist on there – or they have put another number on it – is for real before I incur a lot of costs?’. It is a simple additional consumer protection measure which does not cost anything” and “It would look after consumers – in this context, particularly fans of sport and fans of music – which is what we should be all about.”
Anti-ticket touting campaign group FanFair Alliance warmly welcomed amendment saying it would add to transparency in the secondary market place saying “alongside the other recent commitments we look forward to further discussions with government about how ticket resale can be made more transparent, honest and consumer-friendly.”
UPDATE: With the UK’s snap General Election putting paid to the ongoing parliamentary investigation into secondary ticketing on hold, the new regulations on ticket touting were passed into law. The revised Digital Economy Act received royal assent on the 27th March, with the amendments made by the Lords banning ‘bots’ and the extension of the re-sale provisions contained in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 so that that information must include a “unique ticket number that may help the buyer to identify the seat or standing area or its location” approved by the House of Commons.
Thanking politicians who had supported the changes including Sharon Hodgson MP, Nigel Adams MP and Lord (Tim) Clement-Jones, FanFair Alliance issued a statement which said: “On top of Government measures to criminalise the bulk-buying of tickets, this relatively minor amendment to the Consumer Rights Act, for a ‘unique ticket number’ to be displayed when a ticket is listed for resale, should greatly increase transparency in the so-called secondary ticketing market. If enforced, it will give users some assurances that the ticket they are buying actually exists, as well as disrupting the practices of hardcore touts that thrive on sites like Viagogo, StubHub, Get Me In! and Seatwave.”
“Going forward, it is now vital that the UK’s consumer laws are enforced, and recommendations made in the Waterson Review of secondary ticketing are fully implemented. After the General Election, we will need details on how all these changes will work in practice. Only then, and combined with a concerted effort from industry and regulators, will this broken market be fixed and British audiences provided with the open and properly-functioning resale market they deserve.”