Crackdown on ticket resellers starts today
Ticket reselling websites will no longer be allowed to mislead and rip off customers by hiding massive markups on tickets.
New rules, introduced by the Government today, mean ticket resellers will now have to state the original price of a ticket, and say exactly where the seats are.
If companies breach these rules they could be fined up to £5,000 or face two years in prison.
Websites will also have to disclose any restrictions around who can use the ticket or how it must be used – such as if they need to have the ID of the original buyer.
Last year A Spokesman Said received more than 450 complaints about ticket selling websites Viagogo and Ticket Selection.
We continue to urge people to steer clear of Ticket Selection – a website which takes people's money but doesn't send their tickets.
Ticket reselling websites often use bots to purchase official tickets and then pass them on at a much higher price.
That's what happened to Anna Elliott.
She purchased two tickets from Viagogo for a Hollywood Undead concert in Birmingham in January.
"I paid over £116 for two tickets which had a face value of £16.25 each.
"I understand there is a need to make a profit but that is appalling. There was no indication of the face value until I printed the tickets the night before the concert. The profit line should be capped!"
Paul Dugdale also "fell into the trap of Viagogo".
"They presented the concert to me like it was sold out, so I purchased.
"Three weeks later the concert tickets go on sale for 65% cheaper.
"Correct tickets also have seats allocated, mine do not."
Ticket resellers forced to stop using hidden fees
These new rules come just weeks after the Advertising Standards Authority cracked down on ticket reselling websites StubHub, Viagogo, Get Me In and Seatwave for using misleading pricing with hidden fees.
The ASA said the sites did not make the total ticket prices clear from the outset – leaving out booking and delivery fees.
Tips to avoid getting ripped off
If you are buying tickets online you should try and find the venue's website or the official event website first.
To avoid getting ripped off, make sure you only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, the promoter, or a well-known and reputable ticket site.
Pay for your tickets by credit card as this protects your purchase if the tickets don’t show up or are not valid.
Avoid using bank transfer, cash or debit cards if you can, as you may not get your money back should things go wrong.
"Greater protection for consumers"
The crackdown has been welcomed by officials.
Consumer minister Andrew Griffiths said: "Fans have a right to know exactly what they’re signing up to on ticket resale websites, but all too often people are left feeling ripped off when the ticket doesn’t match expectations."
We are already taking steps to crack down on touts using “bots” to bulk buy tickets for resale and today’s new rules will also improve transparency in this market.
FanFair Alliance campaign manager Adam Webb said: "Combined with enforcement action, these welcome updates and additions to consumer law will result in greater protection for audiences and help development of a more transparent and fan-friendly ticket resale market."
Digital and the Creative Industries minister Margot James said: "We want real fans to get the chance to see their favourite stars at a fair price and we are clamping down on touts using bots to buy huge numbers of tickets, only to sell them on at rip-off prices.
"These new measures will give consumers even greater protection and transparency in the secondary market, helping Britain’s live events scene to continue to thrive."
Four people were arrested late last year in relation to unfair practices in the secondary ticketing market and buying and selling tickets in bulk.
In addition to the arrests a range of equipment including computers, mobile phones and storage devices were seized as evidence.
The arrests were for suspected breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
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