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Secondary ticketing sites routinely offering tickets unlawfully, Which? reports

By | Published on Tuesday 24 May 2016

Ticket touts

Some of the biggest secondary ticketing sites are routinely listing tickets unlawfully in the UK, according to new Which? research. It says GetMeIn!, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo all offer music and theatre tickets for sale without adhering to the rules laid out in the previously reported Consumer Rights Act, which introduced some light regulation of the ticket resale sites last October.

Which? sampled 200 listings for a variety of shows, including Beyonce’s ‘Formation’ tour. The organisation found that information on the face value of tickets, seating information, and restrictions were regularly not being provided, despite such information now being required by law when tickets are resold.

In response, StubHub said that “there are instances where sellers may not have access to this information at the time of listing, as some primary vendors do not provide this at the time of purchase”.

However, when posing as a seller, Which? found that some sites are simply not displaying information that has actually been provided to them. Viagogo, for example, makes it mandatory for sellers to input the exact face value cost, but then does not always display this figure.

Seating information may sometimes be unavailable at the time of purchase, though there is also a fear that if this information is made available then some promoters and artists will cancel those tickets. No listings that Which? checked on Viagogo had a seat number, while none of the other sites also failed to provide them on all listings. And none made it mandatory for sellers to providing seating details where tickets are locked to specific seats.

Viagogo also failed to list whether there were any restrictions on tickets being resold and, unlike the other three sites investigated, didn’t make it mandatory for sellers to say whether or not any restrictions applied.

“We’ve found evidence of tickets being sold unlawfully”, commented Which? Director Of Policy And Campaigns Alex Neill. “This means people will struggle to find basic information on tickets, such as face value and seat location. It is clear the protections put in place by the Consumer Rights Act aren’t being followed by some of the biggest players in the market, and no action is being taken against them. The government must crack down on bad practice so that people know what they’re buying and don’t get ripped off”.

Specifically, Which? is calling on the government to clarify that it is the secondary sites, rather than individual sellers, who are responsible for ensuring that the required information is displayed, something that has been of much debate since the Consumer Rights Act became law.

The research comes ahead of the publication of the results of the government’s latest review of the secondary ticketing market, which is due this week.