Sep 12, 2023 3 min read

FanFair Alliance calls for ban of for-profit ticket touting in the UK

The UK’s FanFair Alliance has launched a three-point plan to tackle the ongoing issues caused by ticket touting, which includes a call for a new law banning the for-profit resale of tickets

FanFair Alliance calls for ban of for-profit ticket touting in the UK

The FanFair Alliance campaign group against ticket touting yesterday set out a new agenda, for the first time calling for the introduction of legislation to ban the for-profit resale of tickets in the UK.

At a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, FanFair set out a three-point plan that seeks to tackle the ongoing issues faced by artists, promoters and fans as a result of industrial-level ticket touting on platforms like Viagogo and StubHub.

As well as new laws, FanFair wants platforms like Google to stop touts buying their way to the top of search lists, and is calling on the live music industry to give more visibility to price-capped ticket resale initiatives, to support their overall viability.

Ticketing resale in the UK is now regulated to a certain extent, thanks mainly to past work by the FanFair Alliance and politicians like Sharon Hodgson MP, who has long campaigned on this issue. Changes to the law - and better enforcement of existing laws - have forced companies like Viagogo and StubHub to alter the way they promote and manage their services. Meanwhile, National Trading Standards has gone after some of the touts who broke the law in the way they acquired and promoted the tickets they were selling.

However, FanFair says more needs to be done. Yesterday it highlighted an ITV News report from last year which "detailed how the vast majority of UK festival tickets listed on Viagogo were fraudulently advertised by just three people", adding: "These three sellers are, we believe, still actively trading on the website". And, in March this year, "reporters for BBC Radio 4’s 'You & Yours' highlighted how a new generation of touts are exploiting ticketing systems with increasingly sophisticated software".

In 2021, the Competition & Markets Authority - which has taken responsibility for monitoring and regulating the resale platforms - made a series of recommendations that aimed to strengthen existing laws around ticket resale. But earlier this year the UK government declined to implement those recommendations.

At yesterday’s event the FanFair Alliance said that it believes it is “now imperative for the UK to adopt legislation similar to countries including Ireland, France and Australia - outlawing the resale of tickets for profit, while ensuring customers who can no longer attend an event are being provided with viable services to resell at the price they paid or less".

FanFair's new three-point plan - including the call for a ban on for-profit touting - is backed by a stack of booking agents, artist managers, tour promoters and music industry organisations.

Commenting on the new plan, FanFair Alliance Campaign Manager Adam Webb says: “When the FanFair campaign was established in 2016, online ticket touting in the UK was out of control. There was little enforcement of consumer law, and fans were systematically misled and ripped off by the dominant secondary ticketing platforms".

"Despite substantial progress to improve this situation it is now clear we need a reset", he goes on. "We need fresh legislation and fresh thinking - ending once and for all the parasitical practices of online ticket touts, while doing more to proactively promote capped consumer-friendly ticket resale. The UK is rightly proud of its live music culture, and this is an area we should and could be leading the world".

Sharon Hodgson MP, who chairs the APPG on Ticket Abuse, adds: “Since I introduced a private members bill in 2010 that attempted to outlaw the resale of tickets for profit, we’ve seen many other countries adopt strict anti-touting legislation. It is high time that the UK caught up".

"Every week we continue to see thousands of ticket buyers fall foul of predatory and unlawful practices in the secondary market", she continues. "I wholeheartedly support FanFair Alliance’s three common sense goals which would provide audiences with far greater protections, while helping to boost one of our country’s most important cultural industries".

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