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StubHub ordered not to advertise tickets as “genuine”

As Stubhub furloughs two thirds of its US workforce, the UK Advertising Standards Authority has told StubHub to remove an advert claiming tickets are “guaranteed genuine”

By Anna Grace on 25 Mar 2020

StubHub ordered not to advertise tickets as “genuine”

The Advertising Standards Agency and the Committees of Advertising Practice

image © ASA

UK advertising regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has ruled that secondary ticketing platform StubHub should not advertise tickets as “guaranteed genuine”, following a complaint from anti-tout platform FanFair Alliance.

The ASA ruled that StubHub cannot claim tickets are guaranteed genuine where there is a risk that buyers might not be able to gain entry into an event.

FanFair Alliance issued the complaint about a specific advert claiming it sells “guaranteed genuine tickets”. The complaint states that, as a third-party reseller, StubHub is unable to guarantee that tickets sold on its platform are genuine, rendering the claim  misleading.

In response, StubHub claimed that “genuine” refers to tickets not being fake or fraudulent, and does not imply that they are definitely valid for entry.

StubHub states its seller fraud rate is under 0.1% and all orders are backed by its ‘FanProtect Guarantee’, allowing fans to obtain a refund if they do not receive tickets on time or are unable to gain entry to the venue.

The ASA’s ruling considers that consumers would understand “guaranteed genuine tickets” to indicate the definite timely arrival of valid tickets guaranteeing entry to the relevant event.

“We understood that the claim was intended by StubHub to refer to a guarantee that buyers would receive valid tickets for the event or a comparable replacement ticket or refund,” reads an ASA statement. “However, this information had not been presented in the ad.”

StubHub has now removed the advert in question. A spokesperson adds: “Every marketplace order is protected by the FanProtect Guarantee, meaning that in those rare instances something goes wrong with a transaction, fans will receive a comparable or better replacement ticket or their money back.”

“Given the impact of the coronavirus on the live events industry, we have made the difficult but responsible decision to furlough a portion of our employee base”

StubHub is among companies to have temporarily laid off staff due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic. According to Celebrity Access, the ticketing platform has furloughed around two thirds of its work force.

“Given the impact of the coronavirus on the live events industry, we have made the difficult but responsible decision to furlough a portion of our employee base,” reads a StubHub statement.

“We continue to support our customers and partners and look forward to a time when we are able to return to the joy of live events and the special, human connections that come with them.”

The secondary ticketing platform is offering fans a StubHub coupon “worth 120% of your original order” for tickets to event cancelled due coronavirus. The coupon can be applied to one or more StubHub orders in within the next year. Those who have sold tickets to cancelled events will have their transaction reversed by StubHub.

If events are not cancelled, but fans no longer wish to attend due to concerns over Covid-19, the site will not offer refunds. Fans are encouraged to resell tickets on the StubHub platform.

Viagogo, the secondary ticketing site that acquired StubHub in a $4.05 billion all-cash deal last year, has announced that all its customers will receive a “full refund” for any cancelled events.

Earlier this month, Viagogo reported a 45% increase in fans listing tickets on its UK site.

“The live events sector has undoubtedly been impacted in the UK. We have seen an overall increase of 45% in fans listing their tickets in the UK this week, but that could be for a variety of factors,” said a Viagogo spokesperson.


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