HANDFUL OF REBEL LORDS PLOT TO RESTRICT CONSUMER CHOICE WITH THREAT OF DAMAGING REGULATION TO THE TICKETING MARKET
- UK’s leading ticketing company Ticketmaster warns that regulation supported by a small group of peers would reduce the freedom of fans to buy and resell tickets
- 80% of British adults believe they have the right to sell on tickets they have bought; 70% believe resale sites provide a useful service
- Regulation could increase the risk of fraud and drive the resale market to offshore unregulated resale sites
- The regulation proposed by peers will give some event organisers the ability to cancel tickets with no opportunity for compensation
- Efforts to regulate the market show a lack of understanding of how the internet has transformed the ticketing market
Ticketmaster, a division of Live Nation Entertainment, has warned that attempts by rebel peers to introduce regulation of the ticket resale market will increase the risk of fraud in the UK market, exposing fans to the risk of ticket cancellation and blacklisting by event organisers.
A handful of peers have been pressing for the introduction of legislation making it a legal requirement for all sellers on UK-registered online ticket marketplaces to provide personal information, alongside the booking reference and exact seat number of the tickets being sold. This information will allow event organisers to cancel a ticket, without informing either the consumers who have offered the tickets for resale or those genuine fans who have bought the tickets in good faith. Whilst the proponents of the regulation say that it is aimed at improving transparency and battling touts, this is highly misleading and it is, in fact, the average consumer that will be most affected.
These plans were voted down by the House of Commons last month. However some peers are using the looming General Election to try and ignore MPs’ views by threatening to block the introduction of important consumer protection powers contained in the Consumer Rights Bill if they don’t get their way. The next vote on the Bill in the Lords is later this month.
As well as ignoring the elected House of Commons, the peers are on the wrong side of public opinion which values the right of consumers to be able to buy and sell tickets to each other.
According to a recent ComRes poll looking at consumer attitudes to ticket resale sites, 80% of people say that people who have bought tickets should be able to sell them on if they are unable to use them. 64% of adults believe that event organisers should not be able to restrict ticket buyers from reselling tickets or passing them on to someone else. 71% of 18-24 year olds believe that people should have the right to decide how much they want to pay for a ticket, even if that means paying more to get to a sold out event.
Requiring the publication of personal information would be of little value to potential purchasers. Major resale sites already offer very high levels of protection. Such a requirement would give event organisers the opportunity to cancel any tickets offered for resale without compensation. Fans may also be put at risk of blacklisting by event organisers if they try and resell tickets.
Rather than providing reassurance about the validity of a ticket, if such detailed ticket information was mandatory it will also potentially make it easier for fraudsters to take information from genuine listings and trick fans by advertising fake tickets.
In the face of this threat, it is likely that consumers will be driven to resell their tickets on the street or through offshore resale sites, out of reach of the new regulation.
Notes to editors
ComRes interviewed 2,049 GB adults online between 21st and 22nd January 2015. Data were weighted to be representative of all
GB adults aged 18+.