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UK govt bolsters secondary ticketing regs

The British government has announced new regulations intended to protect UK consumers from “rip-off” secondary ticket prices.

Under the new rules, which come into force in April, resellers will be required to provide information about tickets, including the location of seats, disclosure of any restrictions and the original price of the ticket itself, as required by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

For the first time, secondary sellers will also have to supply a unique ticket number (UTN) if the event promoter or primary seller specifies one, helping consumers identify the ticket’s seat, standing area or location.

Businesses who fail to comply are liable to face a fine of up to £5,000 for each breach, according to guidance published today.

Consumer minister Andrew Griffiths (pictured) says: “All too often, people are left feeling ripped off when buying tickets from resale websites. Whether it’s a major music festival or a stadium concert, people want to know they’re paying a fair price for tickets to see the events they love.  

“If properly enforced, we believe these updates will better protect UK audiences and event organisers”

“We are already taking steps to crack down on touts using bots to bulk buy tickets for resale and the CMA is investigating suspected breaches of consumer protection law online, and today we are going even further, making it easier for consumers to understand what they are buying to help save them from rip off ticket prices.”

“Later this year, we will also publish a consumer green paper which will examine how we can help people to engage with markets to find the best deals,” he adds.

Adam Webb, campaign manager for anti-touting group FanFair Alliance, welcomes the announcement, saying that, “if properly enforced, we believe these updates will better protect UK audiences and event organisers. They should also provide greater clarity to secondary ticketing platforms of their legal responsibilities, and increase overall transparency in what is frequently a murky and under-regulated sector.”

 


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TicketNetwork acquires bankrupt ScoreBig

Bankrupt secondary ticketing site ScoreBig has been snapped up by rival operation TicketNetwork.

As of 12 November, ScoreBig is under the management of “a subsidiary of TicketNetwork”, says the Connecticut-based company, which has “acquired and licensed select assets of the company formerly known as ScoreBig Inc., which went out of business in September of 2016”.

“TicketNetwork [has] no responsibility for anything that occurred on or related to the website or business prior to 12 November 2016”

TicketNetwork, which lists tickets to concerts, sporting events and theatrical shows, is, however, keen to emphasise that is has “no responsibility for anything that occurred on or related to [Scorebig] – whose former owners are facing lawsuits over thousands of dollars allegedly owed to ticket resellers – “prior to 12 November 2016”, and directs all creditors to ProofOfClaims.com to recover their money.

Before going into administration, ScoreBig operated under a model that would be illegal in many countries (in violation, for example, of the UK’s Consumer Rights Act 2015), deliberately concealing resellers’ identities to enable venues to offer discounts on tickets without “cannibalising their own box offices or angering season ticket holders who paid full price”.

 


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1D turn down £1m to endorse resale site

One Direction turned down an offer of over £1 million to endorse a prominent secondary ticketing website, it has emerged.

“1D got offered a seven-figure sum by a secondary ticketing company to be featured on their site, and a very large share on uplift on those highly-priced tickets,” a “source close to the band” tells the Daily Mirror. “The band flatly turned this down.”

In a statement to the Mirror, band member Niall Horan calls resale sites such as StubHub and Viagogo “terrible for music and for real music fans”, echoing the tone of the language used at the launch earlier this month of anti-touting initiative FanFair Alliance, and says the band “always thought very carefully about how tickets were priced, and so to regularly see fans on Twitter unable to get a ticket or having to pay ridiculous secondary ticketing prices was incredibly frustrating”.

“1D got offered a seven-figure sum by a secondary ticketing company to be featured on their site… The band flatly turned this down”

One Direction previously lent their support to a petition created by Mumford & Sons manager Adam Tudhope which called for the protection of music fans by properly enforcing the 2015 Consumer Rights Act.

Around a month later Professor Michael Waterson, in his review of the British secondary ticketing market, recommended just that – a decision welcomed by Tudhope and others – but disappointed others by failing to call for the criminalisation of ticket touting in the UK.

Even if 1D weren’t so anti-touting, it’s not like they need the money: the band were collectively the second-richest celebrities of 2015, behind only Taylor Swift.

 


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