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Transformative ticketing resale act makes its bow

The European Union's Digital Services Act will hold the secondary market to strict guidelines

By Gordon Masson on 16 Feb 2024

FEAT Director Sam Shemtob

FEAT Director Sam Shemtob

Campaigners are celebrating tomorrow’s implementation of the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA), which brings with it major implications for the online secondary ticketing market.

From 17 February, the DSA will apply to all platforms, including Viagogo and Stubhub, which will be required to identify and verify professional sellers, and will be prohibited from using manipulative sales tactics.

The legislation will also introduce annual reports on content take-downs that should help reveal the scale of illegal activity – data on which enforcement agencies and search engines will be compelled to take action.

The new regulations, designed to create a safer digital environment, include key provisions lobbied for over two years by the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT) on behalf of Europe’s live entertainment sector. As a result of FEAT’s efforts, online resale marketplaces will now be subject to stricter due diligence and reporting requirements, improving transparency for buyers.

Ticket resale sites will be banned from using design tricks that manipulate consumers into decisions

Measures affecting ticket resale marketplaces include:

Identifying and verifying professional sellers: online marketplaces will be required to obtain essential information about third party professional sellers, such as name, contact details and ID, before traders can list tickets on the platform. They will also be required to ensure that the seller’s name, contact and trading details appear on the listing.

Prohibition of dark patterns: ticket resale sites will be banned from using design tricks that manipulate consumers into decisions, such as “pop-ups” or giving prominence to specific choices.

Annual reporting: ticket resale sites will be required to produce easily comprehensible and publicly-available annual reports on takedowns of ticket listings.This will give an indication of the scale of harmful activity taking place.

Increased accountability for marketplaces: Resale platforms will be required to make it clear throughout the buying process that the tickets listed are provided by a third party. If a platform fails to do this and fans are led to believe that the tickets are provided by the platform itself, the platform can be held responsible for any tickets listed in contravention of national laws.

Increased oversight: Every Member State is in the process of appointing a Digital Services Coordinator (DSC) to enforce the rules laid out in the DSA, with far-reaching powers of investigation. DSCs will have the ability to sanction platforms that do not comply with these new regulations, and consumers will be able to notify DSCs of any illegal listings through a simple flagging procedure.

“Our priority now is to ensure that the new rules are enforced, with a clear process for removing illegal ticket listings”

FEAT is now engaged in working with European member states’ newly-appointed Digital Services Coordinators (DSCs) to ensure effective enforcement of the new legislation. This includes establishing a clear process for reporting and taking down ticket listings that contradict member state or EU law.

FEAT Director Sam Shemtob says, “This is a landmark moment for Europe’s live events sector. Our priority now is to ensure that the new rules are enforced, with a clear process for removing illegal ticket listings as and when they appear. FEAT is looking forward to working with DSCs across the Member States to make this happen and lay the groundwork for a fairer, more transparent ticket-buying experience for consumers on the secondary market.”


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