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StubHub is a benign platform with no control over its sellers, says StubHub

By | Published on Tuesday 12 December 2017


Continuing its bid to be the friendly face of secondary ticketing, eBay’s StubHub has given an interview to BBC Newsbeat. In it, UK Country Manager Wayne Grierson claims that just 2% of sellers on its platform are professional touts, and that it is a benign platform that makes no judgement of any kind on what people should charge for touted tickets.

“We are a marketplace and we enable sellers to sell”, says Grierson. “98% of our sellers are consumer sellers, that means they are people who can’t go to the event. A lot of other people in this sector aren’t as visible as us. We want to be transparent, present and part of this sector”.

See? Friendly face. Although Grierson’s answers do come across as being increasingly tetchy as the interview goes on.

If almost everyone who advertises a ticket for sale on StubHub is just a person who found themselves unable to attend a show at the last minute, “why are the prices so high?”, Newsbeat wonders.

It’s because bands don’t play enough shows, that’s why. Or big enough venues. “There aren’t enough tickets in the first place”, says Grierson. “There’s a supply and demand issue which means prices will go up”.

However, he notes, despite this, most tickets on StubHub don’t actually go for high prices, which sort of contradicts his previous point. He says: “It’s true that the price doesn’t always stay that high and [it] doesn’t mean that ticket will actually sell [at that price]. 50% of tickets on our site go for below the face value price”.

He then says that there should be greater transparency and accountability in the secondary ticketing sector, adding that there is a “common ground amongst everyone” on this. I’m not sure everyone would agree with him on that. However, his comments seem to some extent to be preparing for the Competitions And Markets Authority’s pending crack down on UK secondary sites not adhering to rules laid out in the 2015 Consumer Rights Act.

For all this talk of accountability, transparency and simply being a place for people to sell on tickets when they find themselves double-booked, Grierson basically dodges the big question about secondary ticketing.

Asked to justify how tickets end up on secondary sites at inflated prices almost immediately after going on sale on primary sites, he says: “I can see it’s frustrating but we don’t control the supply in terms of where the tickets come from. We’re a marketplace for that transaction to take place”.

“If an authority presents us with the information that there is evidence that illegal activity is going on, we will of course investigate”, he adds. “To date, we haven’t been presented with any evidence”.

Read the full interview here.