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Kilimanjaro responds to Ed Sheeran fans left out of pocket by fan-to-fan resale system

By | Published on Monday 2 September 2019

Ed Sheeran

Kilimanjaro Live has responded after some Ed Sheeran fans recently complained of being left out of pocket when trying to resell tickets through its officially sanctioned channels.

The promoter has, of course, been working hard to tackle the touts on Sheeran’s tours over the last couple of years, convincing most secondary sites not to list tickets for his shows while also attempting to cancel any that appear on outlier Viagogo. Fans who found themselves with surplus tickets were, however, permitted to use specific fan-to-fan ticket exchanges – where tickets are resold at face value, plus a 10% resale fee.

It is this approved resale system that some fans say has now left them out of pocket, because restrictions prevent them from discounting the tickets they are reselling or waiving the 10% mark up. These are both things a reseller might want to do if they have spare tickets to a show that has not sold out, because otherwise fans will obviously opt for tickets from a primary ticket seller with no 10% mark-up. As a result, the reseller is left losing the full amount they paid for their ticket, rather than just some of it.

A spokesperson for Kilimanjaro told The Guardian: “From the outset we have tried to find a way to be fair to fans, to facilitate the ethical resale of tickets and to leave as many fans as happy as possible whilst preventing the daily horror stories of them being ripped off by ticket touts profiting from the panic to get a ticket to see Ed. We have undoubtedly had a huge impact here”.

“Whilst we understand the frustration of someone who is unable to resell and wants to drop the price accordingly to give themselves a better chance of recouping some of their money, unfortunately this throws up more questions than answers”, they went on, saying that they did not want people who had bought full price tickets to feel ripped off by last minute discounts on the official resale platform.

“An Ed Sheeran ticket on this tour costs around £85 to £90”, they added, “and that’s a price point that we have set all along – and one that industry stats suggest as being of really good value for the size of venue on this tour”.

It’s not the first time efforts to tackle ticket touting have negatively impacted on genuine fans. Insisting ticket holders present the credit card that bought the tickets seemed like a good idea for stopping the touts, until fans showed up who had had tickets bought for them by a friend or a parent who wasn’t coming to the show, or who couldn’t attend at the last minute.

One possible solution to this latest issue would be to simply allow people to opt to swallow the admin fee on the resold tickets, meaning they’d have parity with the primary sites, but other fans wouldn’t see discounted tickets going on sale. Though while primary sites are still selling tickets, would fans ever be looking to ethical resale sites unless tickets there were cheaper?

Another option would be to allow returns or to authorise box offices to buy back tickets. Though the live music industry has always resisted making that a default policy, in many ways providing the original justification for the secondary ticketing websites.