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Sharon Hodgson MP welcomes government’s commitment on tout regulation

By | Published on Tuesday 14 March 2017

Ticket touts

Labour MP Sharon Hodgson has welcomed the commitment this weekend from the UK government to accept all the recommendations contained in Professor Waterson’s review of the secondary ticketing market, and to back the insertion of a bots ban into the Digital Economy Bill that is currently working it’s way through Parliament.

As previously reported, the government has said that – on the back of Waterson’s review of the ticket resale market – it will endeavour to find extra funding for National Trading Standards to enforce existing secondary ticketing regulation and will put pressure on the resale platforms like Viagogo, StubHub, Seatwave and Get Me In to do more to distinguish commercial from causal resellers, the former of which are likely subject to extra consumer right rules.

The government is now also backing the specific ban on the software used by touts to hoover up large quantities of tickets as they go on sale on primary ticketing sites. Previously ministers said they felt the use of such ‘bots’ was probably already illegal under existing laws, but they are now backing a more specific bots ban in the DEB.

Hodgson has been campaigning for more regulation of secondary ticketing for years, and was involved in inserting the rules that do exist in the Consumer Rights Act of 2015. It was that piece of legislation that also instigated Waterson’s review.

Commenting on the government’s new commitments, she said yesterday: “It is excellent news that the government have now accepted the ‘ban the bots’ amendment and will finally accept all of the recommendations of the Waterson Review, which to be frank, has been a long time coming”.

She added: “This is all down to the concerted campaigning of a whole host of people and organisations who have pushed the government to do more to put fans first in this broken and parasitical market, and as someone who has been campaigning on this for a very long time, I am delighted that we have seen this day come”.

Though the MP conceded that there was still more work to be done. “These measures will ensure that fans are protected and have assurances that they will not be ripped off any longer”, she said. “But there still remains work to do to make sure that these measures are enforced properly so touts do not circumvent them”.