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Investigations into “dirty” Italian resale market

Italian ticketing sites have come under fire from consumer rights groups over the "absurd" secondary prices for Coldplay's shows in Milan next July

By Jon Chapple on 12 Oct 2016

Chris Martin, Coldplay, Barcelona, May 2016, Daniele Dalledonne

Coldplay's Chris Martin performs in Barcelona in May


image © Daniele Dalledonne

Two consumer organisations have lodged official complaints with Italian authorities after tickets for Coldplay’s two dates in Milan next July sold out within minutes of going on sale.

Codacons, which says – despite the TicketOne website crashing “at the opening of pre-sales” – many resellers “managed to grab thousands of tickets”, which were listed instantly on secondary ticketing sites, has complained to the Milanese public prosecutor about what it describes as the “dirty and illicit” ticket resale market.

The organisation noted on Friday that on Viagogo the “lowest currently available price is €166.82” – it’s now up to €229 – which rises to the “absurd figure of €1,780.94” for the most expensive tickets, more than 16 times face value (although it’s important to note that just because tickets have been listed for 16 times their original price doesn’t mean they’ll sell for it – cf. Desert Trip).

Secondary sellers have also provoked the ire of Altroconsumo, which has asked the Italian Antitrust Authority, the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), to investigate TicketOne (according to the International Ticketing Yearbook, one of the two main primary ticketing companies in Italy) for alleged unfair business practices.

“We ask the Antitrust Authority to put in place measures to avoid thousands of tickets sold at extortionate prices on the secondary market”

In a statement, the consumer rights group says: “In tests, Altroconsumo verified that within a few minutes of [going on sale], the tickets were available at exorbitant prices on the secondary market, with prices tripled at best.

“The organisation asks the Antitrust Authority to evaluate the behaviour of TicketOne and to put in place tools and measures necessary to avoid thousands of tickets being purchased and then resold at extortionate prices on secondary platforms.”

In May Belgium became the first country to force ISPs to block access to ticket resale sites in response to widespread touting and fraud.

Coldplay will play the San Siro stadium (80,000-cap.) on 3 and 4 July 2017.

 


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