New legislation is set to be introduced to offer more protection for consumers using secondary ticketing sites.
Under the proposed new amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill, anyone selling tickets must show the row and seat number, face value of the ticket, age restrictions and the original vendor. Those who do not display this information could face a fine of up to £5,000.
The Government pledged support for this amendment during a House of Lords debate despite recent comments by Culture Secretary Sajod Javid opposing the amendment saying it would “overburden fans with red tape” and that those who sold tickets on were “classic entrepreneurs”.
WELCOME NEWS FOR SOME
England and Wales Cricket Board Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison welcomed the decision: “This is a significant step forward. Fans deserve to know exactly what they are getting for their money when they buy a ticket and now at long last we have greater ability to fight back against the industrial touting which blights sport in this country.”
“Online ticket fraud is a growing problem. We are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to ensure cricket fans do not fall victim to ticket touts whose sole objective is to make a profit at fans’ expense.”
Lancashire County Cricket Club Chief Executive Daniel Gidney said: “This is massive for Lancashire County Cricket Club, cricket, sports and major events in general. We’ve been doing a lot of work re-writing our ticketing terms and conditions to make it more difficult for touts to operate. However the power of the secondary market has been significant and it has always managed to hide behind free market principles. Having to publish original face value and seat and block number details provides transparency and enables us to pursue touts who have historically tried to hide behind the legitimacy of the genuine secondary market.”
UNDERMINING A FREE MARKET?
However ticketing companies Stubhub and Ticketmaster expressed concern that the move would “undermine a competitive free market” and shows that “Britain does not back innovative business or the free choice of UK consumers”.
Co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Secondary Ticketing Mike Weatherley said the announcement was great progress but there was still more to do.
“The free market system has broken down due to the introduction of ‘bots’ and other factors, enabling, on occasions, obscene profiteering for intermediaries against the interest of fans and the wishes of those putting on the event,” he said. “While the new amendment does not cover every change that we had hoped for, it is an important step in the right direction. I believe that the report on this issue, that will now become mandatory and be delivered to Parliament in the next 12 months, is important and look forward to seeing if further changes need to made in the future.”
The amendment is due to be enacted as part of the Consumer Rights Bill within the next three months, subject to being passed in the House of Commons.
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