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Reselling Tickets: Another Attempt at Enforcement

Last week, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) released a report into the reselling of tickets for events such as theatre, live music and sport, issuing recommendations to the Government to tighten consumer protection around this area.

Whilst there are already relatively stringent restrictions in place for certain sporting events, such as the Olympics, Paralympics and certain football matches (resale by an unauthorised person for a designated football match is, in fact, a criminal offence), there is the need to bring forth change to encourage transparency, accountability and regulation.

Currently, bar the exceptions already mentioned, it is perfectly legal to buy tickets and then sell them on a reselling platform for a premium.  The CMA, however, are more concerned with the illegal practices that some resellers are using in order to accumulate large numbers of tickets, such as using computer bots or fraudulently using numerous pseudonyms to order more than the acceptable quota.

This obviously puts the consumer at an unfair advantage: the professional resellers are drying the primary market of tickets so that the every-day person who wants to attend an event will need to buy a ticket from a reseller for a hefty premium.

Another practice the CMA want to stamp out includes the speculative advertisement and inaccurate advertisement of tickets.  Some resellers will purport to sell a ticket that they haven’t bought and many are advertising their tickets with untrue information as to the ticket and or the identity of the seller.

Again, this practice prejudices the consumer, who may not receive the ticket they have purchased or who may receive the ticket but not the one they thought they had purchased.

The CMA are now pushing for change.  One of the recommendations in the report is for the prohibition on platforms from allowing sellers to advertise more tickets than they would be able to acquire from the primary market, legally.  They have suggested that in practical terms, it would put the onus on reselling sites such as Viagogo and StubHub to review limits and stop resellers posting more than this.

Another recommendation is to make the reselling sites liable for any incorrect advertising of tickets, rather than wrangle out of liability through a ‘third party’ defence.

The CMA have recognised that in order for these changes to work, and not create further loopholes for resellers to run through, there needs to be tightened enforcement and monitoring which is currently absent.  They are keen for the licencing of reselling sites and enforcement powers, just to name a couple.

If you would like to read the full CMA report, you can do so here.


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Beth Brindley

Apprentice Solicitor
0113 322 2809
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