Ticket re-sale regulation needed, say MPs

SECOND-hand ticket sales must be regulated to ensure buyers know who is selling to them and stop “industrial-scale touting”, a group of MPs has said.

Glasgow's Barrowlands gig venue. A group of MPs has called for regulation of ticket re-sale websites. Picture: Robert Perry

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ticket Abuse has published a report urging the Government to pass new measures which would force resale websites to reveal information about vendors, including if they are selling scores of tickets for the same event.

But viagogo, a major re-sale website, insisted the Government should not be interfering in a private transaction.

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Listing requirements

Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, the group’s co-chairwoman, outlined the proposals on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

She said: “We want a legal requirement for re-sale websites to publish full information about the tickets listed through them, as well as information on the seller. We want a further requirement for re-sale websites to declare where the tickets have been given to them by the event organiser, and also to check the provenance of the tickets where someone is trying to sell more than 20.

“We want guaranteed compensation if people fall victim to ticket scams or cancelled tickets by buying them through these websites.

“The fourth key one is a national police agency to be responsible for tracking down and prosecuting the people perpetrating these ticket crimes, because we have nothing at the moment.

“If it was just fans selling on tickets to other fans, that would be fine. Originally that is what it was but now we have what we are calling industrial-scale touting... people are using computer programmes that are illegal to harvest up huge quantities of tickets the minute they go on sale before members of the public can even get them, and then selling them on through these secondary platforms.

“They are able to get away with this because there is no transparency on who they are.”

‘Voluntary transaction’

Viagogo spokesman Oliver Wheeler told the programme: “We completely support the need for consumers to be protected from fraud and from having bad experiences with ticket re-sale - that’s why we set up viagogo to stop people getting ripped off when they are buying tickets by giving them a safe platform to do so.

“However, we don’t believe the Government should interfere in what is a voluntary transaction between two parties. When you have bought something, whether that is a house, car or ticket, it is up to you what you do with that.

“My concern with this is, if you make it more difficult for people to use these safe platforms, as these recommendations are proposing, then you will just drive people back to the black market where there is no consumer protection and legislation can’t be enforced.”

APPGs are informal groups of Parliamentarians which have no official status but which are used by MPs and peers to raise issues of concern to their members.