My research was based on information collated from members of the public, ticketing industry experts, event organisers and parliamentarians. The divergence of views was incredibly wide and complex. The research focused on outlining issues and legalities around the selling and reselling of event tickets and considered whether the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) satisfactorily addressed these issues.
I initially looked at tickets from primary agents, which are normally at a fixed price and if the event is cancelled a full refund or entrance to a future event is offered. However, once purchased, they can often be resold by the secondary ticketing market at whatever prices they choose.
The event organiser’s ability to control the price and allocation process is then significantly reduced.
These tickets commonly provide a similar right to entry and most online purchasers of resold tickets through secondary sales sites experience no problem. However, the prices are often significantly above the face value and come with additional commission fees of up to 30 per cent.
We also examined illegal websites, which can falsely appear to be a reputable source of tickets, taking people’s money and then disappearing before the tickets are produced! It was here we found a need for further regulation.
It is a complex market but the introduction of stricter terms and conditions on ticket sales and price caps were areas we covered. However, the success of such policies depends on the effort the organiser is willing to make. Adele’s recent UK tour was one example where the organisers did control and carefully manage ticketing through primary sites.
One thing that surprised me is that, although new legislation had come into effect in 2015, no attempt had been made to enforce this legislation, so doing so became one of my key recommendations, along with pursuit of traders acting under cloak of anonymity and traders or sites breaking other existing legislation. I proposed that dedicated funds be provided to facilitate this.
My 226-page report made a series of recommendations to improve operation of the CRA with regards to secondary ticketing. and I’m pleased to say that in April 2018 the Government introduced new rules which require all secondary sellers to give detailed information about their tickets, including the Unique Ticket Number, original price, seat location and any applicable restrictions. Finally, an amendment to the Digital Economy Act in 2018 gave regulators the power to criminalise mass purchases of tickets using bots.
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