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MPs warn new government guidance on secondary ticketing doesn’t go far enough

By | Published on Thursday 15 May 2014

Houses Of Parliament

The government has issued new guidelines to secondary ticketing platforms to increase transparency. However, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse has warned that the new conditions do not go far enough. The new rules will come into play on 13 Jun, and require secondary ticketing sites to show the seat number of tickets sold via their platforms, and in some cases the face value of the original ticket.

But the APPG is also pushing for these websites to have to show who the seller of a ticket is – particularly where it’s actually the show’s promoter or the resale site itself – and also for assurances that fans will be compensated for travel and accommodation expenses if and when tickets turn out to be fake or cancelled. As previously reported, the APPG reckons these new regulations could become law via amendments to the current Consumer Rights Bill.

Following a debate on the issue, Conservative Co-Chair of the APPG Mike Weatherley said: “This is the first concession from the government that there is a real problem with transparency in the secondary market, and the publication of this guidance represents a welcome, although limited, step forward. Secondary ticketing websites now have a month to ensure that they comply with these new responsibilities, and I hope they accept the need to do so”.

However, he continued: “These small changes still don’t go far enough to ensure that consumers have all the relevant information they need to make a buying decision. In particular, consumers still won’t know who they’re actually buying a ticket from, which we wouldn’t stand for in any other marketplace”.

His Labour counterpart on the APPG Sharon Hodgson added: “We welcome any movement from ministers on this issue, and over the next few weeks we will be meeting with ministers from both the Department Of Media, Culture & Sport and the Home Office to discuss the wider set of recommendations in our report”.

Hodgson also had a ‘but’ though, pressing further the Group’s view that further measures should be applied in law, saying: “We still believe that the Consumer Rights Bill is the ideal vehicle through which to extend transparency and recourse in the secondary market, to ensure that it works in the interests of consumers and those whose talent and investment create the demand for tickets in the first place. We will therefore continue to press the government to act to put fans first”.

As previously reported, following the announcement last month of the APPG’s proposals for new secondary ticketing regulations, a Ticketmaster spokesperson said that the parliamentary group had “not listened to industry advice” and that the proposals could “harm the secondary ticketing industry, and more importantly, the fans”.

Rival platform Viagogo later agreed that increased transparency would “make it more difficult to use secure resale platforms” and therefore “drive people back to the black market, where there’s no consumer protection and legislation can’t be enforced”.

Hodgson tweeted at the time that Ticketmaster’s response was “disappointing”, saying that implementation of the APPG’s proposals would actually “build confidence in their service”.