The competition watchdog has launched a formal probe into the second-hand ticket market amid concerns that consumer protection laws are being broken.
The ‘enforcement investigation’ by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will look at:
- seller information
- any connections the seller has with the event organisers
- whether there are any restrictions on the use of resold tickets that could result in a person being denied access to an event.
Earlier this year, the CMA carried out an initial review of the four main secondary-ticketing websites – Get Me In, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo – to ensure that they improve the information provided about the tickets advertised on their sites.
The CMA announced on Monday that one website was not fully complying with the undertaking and that the authority is actively pursuing it to ensure the obligations are ‘met in full’.
You can use our guides to your rights if you’ve had trouble with secondary ticketing.
Strong action needed on secondary ticketing
Vickie Sheriff, director of campaigns and communications at Which?, said: ‘On numerous occasions, we have found tickets being sold unlawfully, so we welcome the competition authority taking action to tackle this.
‘No one can know the real value of their ticket if they haven’t been given the information on face value, where the seat is located and any restrictions. Tickets also shouldn’t be fed straight into secondary sites at consumers’ expense.
‘We expect the CMA to take strong action against ticketing sites and businesses that are not playing by the rules.’
Earlier this year, Which? released research revealing that music and theatre tickets are still being sold unlawfully on some of the UK’s biggest secondary-ticketing sites, by being sold in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
And in November 2015, we spent eight weeks monitoring four of the biggest secondary-ticketing websites and found evidence that consumers are missing out due to unusual selling patterns.
How will the CMA fix secondary ticketing?
Dr Andrea Coscelli, CMA acting chief executive, said: ‘A night out at a concert or a trip to a big match is something that millions of people look forward to.
‘So it’s important they know who they are buying from and whether there are any restrictions that could stop them using the ticket.
‘It is essential that those consumers who buy tickets from the secondary market are made aware if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door,’ he added.
The probe will also take into account where a seat is located in the venue, and consider whether both businesses selling tickets and the secondary-ticketing platforms advertising them are failing to provide the full range of information.
‘If we find breaches of consumer law, we will take enforcement action,’ the CMA warned.