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Now the Competition & Markets Authority opens a secondary ticketing review

By | Published on Thursday 16 June 2016

Ticket touts

Hot on the heels of the UK government’s secondary ticketing review, penned by that there Professor Michael Waterson, the Competition & Markets Authority has now announced an investigation into the big four ticket resale sites, mainly to check out how they are doing with commitments they made to the regulator last year.

The CMA received undertakings from Viagogo, eBay’s StubHub and Live Nation’s Get Me In! and Seatwave in March last year, in which the secondary sites agreed to ensure certain information was always provided by ticket sellers using their platforms.

That information included details of any restrictions on the tickets being sold (in terms of entry or view), the face value of the original ticket, whether there were any additional charges, whether multiple tickets – when being sold together – were situated next to each other in the venue, and an email address for the seller that the buyer could use if something went wrong.

Those undertakings followed a lengthy investigation by the CMA, from which it concluded that: “A well-functioning secondary ticket market benefits fans by helping them to get tickets for events they want to see and by helping them when they can no longer make use of their tickets. However, consumers need certain key information in order to make an informed decision on whether to buy a ticket through a secondary ticket platform”.

Of course, since the CMA’s review and the resulting undertakings by the big four players in the UK secondary ticketing market, the Consumer Rights Act was passed by Parliament with some specific regulations for the resale of tickets included. There was some crossover between those regulations and the existing undertakings, though the CRA also requires that seat numbers be provided for shows that have such a thing. The Act also instigated the aforementioned review of the secondary ticketing market by Waterson.

The new review by the CMA is specifically focused on whether or not Viagogo, StubHub, Get Me In! and Seatwave are complying with their undertakings, though it will also check whether other obligations under the CRA are being met as well. And while the review focuses on those four businesses in particular, in its call for submissions to the investigation, the CMA says: “Information about other businesses or other issues in the market can still be submitted to the CMA”.

Those wishing to make a submission to this latest ticket tout investigation have until 12 Jul to do so. For the increasingly vocal group of promoters and artist managers who are pushing for tougher regulation of secondary ticketing, and/or stricter enforcement of the existing rules, this latest CMA review is another forum through which to vent, though it could also allow the government to put off responding to Waterson’s report for a while, pending the CMA’s findings.

Though, then again, if we Brexit next week, everything will probably be in limbo for years to come, providing the perfect excuse for ministers who possibly want to look sympathetic to the anti-tout brigade, but without really doing anything about the touts.

There is more information about the CMA investigation here.

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