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Ticketing amendments rejected by House of Commons

Fresh legislation that would impact the secondary ticketing market has been rejected in the House of Commons.

The amendments to the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill called for requirements to be imposed on resale platforms regarding “proof of purchase, ticket number limits and the provision of information, with the aim of reducing fraud”.

“I do not want to stop any fans from reselling their tickets if they can no longer go to the event. I just want the industrial-scale, parasitic scalping to stop,” said Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, a longtime campaigner against industrial-scale ticket touting. “However, until we get to that point – and while the Conservatives are still in government—it is important that current legislation is made as effective as possible. They could ensure that now.

“The small measures that we are talking about do not go as far as we plan to go, but they would be a start in preventing consumer harm and making it harder for bad actors to thrive.”

Fellow Labour MP Sir Chris Bryant added: “If the minister goes to the Viagogo website and tries to buy a ticket, he will see on the first page that it says the ticket is £420 or whatever. Can he see the original value of the ticket? No. Can he see whether it is a validly purchased ticket? No. That is the problem that the amendment would solve. It would be simple for the government to agree to the amendment and then we can get the Bill through.”

Nevertheless, the proposed changes were voted out by MPs yesterday (30 April), as business minister Kevin Hollinrake said: “We believe those provisions are already there,” and admitted to using resale platform Viagogo himself in the past.

“I have quite happily used Viagogo on many occasions, as other people have when reselling tickets”

“I have quite happily used Viagogo on many occasions, as other people have when reselling tickets,” said the Conservative MP. “Of course we will keep looking at the primary and secondary markets, and at the interaction between the two, so that we can develop the right way to regulate the market, in a future parliament.”

The suggested requirements for resale sites were in line with the recommendations made in a 2021 report by the Competition and Markets Authority to tighten laws around online ticket touting, which were rejected by the UK government in May last year, with then business secretary Hollinrake saying he was “not convinced” by the need for additional legislative changes.

The amendments to the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers will potentially return to the House of Lords for further discussion at a later date.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer recently pledged to introduce new legislation to cap ticket resale if the party wins the next general election. Measures would include restricting the resale of tickets at more than a small, set percentage above face value, and limiting the number of tickets individual resellers can list. But Viagogo global MD Cris Miller claimed that while the move is “well-intentioned”, “price caps just don’t work”.

“What happens with price caps is that the highest-demand part of the market, where you might see prices go above the original price, will just get driven underground,” Miller told the Guardian.


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