Regardless of opinions on the secondary market, and particularly on the industrial- scale, the fact of the matter is that, for better or worse, it is now an entrenched part of the live event industry, worth an estimated £1bn a year.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ticket Abuse believe that the existence of a secondary market is justified by the need of consumers to pass on tickets bought for events that they can no longer use, and that to some extent this is a product of the failings of event-holders to facilitate refunds or exchange mechanisms to account for the fact that onsale dates are often many months in advance of the event itself.
However, in accepting that there is a role for a legitimate secondary market within the live event economy, they noted that there could be changes to how the present market operates, and would ask that consideration is given to options to ensure that the market works primarily in the interests of consumers, and particularly that it adheres to the same principles of transparency and consumer protection that other markets are held to.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse have arrived at a number of recommendations that they believe would help achieve this end; these recommendations are summarised below:
The Government should:
- Consider amendments to the Consumer Rights Bill to enforce transparency in the secondary market, in particular on whether the seller is a professional or occasional seller, and what the face value and individual characteristics of the ticket are.
- Consider amendments to the Consumer Rights Bill to ensure fair compensation for the victims of ticket crime.
- Ensure that the Police fully investigate ticket crime where it is reported.
- Examine whether existing legislation is enough to deter the use of ‘botnets’ or other software programmes designed to harvest large numbers of tickets.
- Be transparent about any involvement with the secondary market.
- Where possible, take steps to ensure tickets reach the hands of genuine fans.
- Establish an industry standard for allowing refunds and/or facilitating or promoting the use of a safe and fair exchange system for fans who can genuinely no longer use their tickets.
- Take steps to raise awareness of pricing strategies and the negatory effect of the secondary market on them.
Secondary ticketing platforms should:
- Be upfront with consumers that they, and those selling through them, are not the primary seller or an authorised reseller of the tickets listed on their site, and that those tickets may therefore be cancelled by the originator.
- Be upfront with consumers about additional fees, abolishing ‘drip pricing’.
- Ensure tickets sold through their platforms are genuine and were acquired by legitimate means.
- Ensure that sellers are not paid before tickets have been successfully used.
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