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Secondary Ticketing: Review Published

The Government commissioned review of the secondary ticketing market has rejected the need for further legislation but called for greater enforcement of existing measures.

Professor Michael Waterson delivered the 226-page report, receiving over 1,000 submissions from promoters, managers, agents, artists and secondary ticketing platforms.

The upshot was nine recommendations aimed at protecting and educating the consumer in relation to both the secondary and primary ticketing markets. It calls for industrial-scale ticket traders to be clearly identified on the sites and for more transparency within the primary market

Waterson dismissed calls for an outright ban on the secondary ticketing market, arguing that around 30% of tickets on resale sites were priced below face value, thus “offering a useful service to consumers”, also rejecting a cap on resale prices.

Commenting on the amendments introduced into the Consumer Rights Act (CRA) to create greater transparency around secondary ticketing sellers, Waterson stated: “Enforcement, in particular, is somewhat patchy. Clarification and enforcement should, in my view, take precedence over the creation of new legislation wherever possible. Specifically, clear onus should be placed on secondary ticketing platforms to ensure their sellers fully comply with the secondary ticketing provisions of the CRA”.

The amendments were introduced last year, requiring secondary sellers to divulge certain details about a ticket, including original face value, any restrictions on the ticket and where applicable, the seat number. Which? recently monitored the largest four secondary ticketing sites and found them to be non-compliant, ignoring resale restrictions and engaging in various ‘anti consumer’ tactics. Waterson recommended that a lead body such as National Trading Standards conduct a compliance investigation, followed by action coordinated with the police.

As reported here by Music Week, anti touting campaigners within the industry have cautiously welcomed the report. Mumford and Sons Manager Adam Tudhope, who sponsored an anti-touting petition that has amassed over 40,000 signatures said: “Going forward, Government is expected to reply to the report in the next few months, so I think it’s vital that the entire industry continues to educate itself on this and finds common ground with other sectors such as comedy and sports so that we can collectively keep the issue at the forefront of Government’s minds”, adding that “Without political action and enforcement, Waterson’s recommendations will be meaningless and an opportunity will be lost”.

The ‘big four’ secondary sites- Get Me In!, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo, have all consistently and unsurprisingly argued against the need for regulation. StubHub welcomed Waterson’s rejection of further legislation, adding that: “Transparency should not come at the expense of people’s right to resell their tickets”.

Read the entire 226 page report (or at least the executive summary and recommendations) here.

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