I am pleased that the Government, after a delay, has today, 11 March 2017, produced a comprehensive response to the nine recommendations I made in my report published on 26 May last year. I am also pleased that the response was a very positive endorsement of the recommendations I made and that the Government has agreed to take action in certain areas where I suggested they have a role. I am also pleased that there are some signs that key industry players are moving on the actions I suggested they needed to take. But there is some way still to go.
I particularly welcome the fact that the Government has allocated some additional money for National Trading Standards to take forward work on compliance in conjunction, if necessary, with police forces and HMRC.
It also needs to be noted that both primary and secondary ticketing sites must play their part (in some cases, a legal duty) in identifying and reporting suspicious activity and ensuring that traders in tickets are identified as such where they sell significant volumes of tickets. They must not leave matters to Government. In this context, it is vital that primary sites report “bot” attacks to the police and I welcome the announcement that the Government will make additional proposals within the Digital Economy Bill and await the details with interest.
What should be a pleasant, or at least straightforward, process of buying a ticket has in some circumstances become a fraught experience for consumers. This cannot be in the long-term interests of the event industries, and all parties within the industry must work to provide consumers better information. Ideally, ticketing strategy, together with venue control, needs to be an integral part of planning an event. Modern technology can assist with this, with the incidental benefit of providing organisers with better information regarding their market.
It is interesting to reflect that the various issues which I raised in my report, the issues raised by those who sought changes which resulted in insertions into the Consumer Rights Act 2015, and the issues raised subsequently in debates in Parliament, particularly in the House of Lords, are not issues peculiar to the UK alone but are part of an increasingly international concern that has resulted in the last few months in new laws being enacted in, for example, the USA and Italy. Clearly, the pressure for reform in ticketing is not a narrow British concern. It is significant and all parts of the industry as well as the relevant sectors of Government need to recognise that.
Andrea Cullis: Media Relations Manager, University of Warwick
Tel: 02476 528050
Mob: 07825 314874
E: a dot cullis at warwick dot ac dot uk