HomeInsightsGovernment publishes independent report into consumer protection measures concerning online secondary ticketing facilities.


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In October 2015, the Government published a Call for Evidence in respect of its review of consumer protection measures in the online ticket resale market for events in the UK, including music, sporting and other cultural and recreational events.  It aimed to identify any problems for consumers and potential ways to address them.

The review was required by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and was chaired by Professor Michael Waterson, economics professor at Warwick University.

Professor Waterson found that there was work to be done and made a number of recommendations for all concerned with ticketing and the resale of tickets including both the primary and secondary markets.

His recommendations include a challenge to secondary ticketing platforms to ensure sellers on their platforms fully observe the rules set out in the Consumer Rights Act 2015.  This means providing information such as the face value of the ticket, the exact seat location, and any restrictions on the user of the ticket (e.g. age).  Where necessary, enforcement action should be undertaken.

Professor Waterson also recommends that secondary platforms play a role in identifying traders and ensuring their details are provided to consumers.

A further recommendation is that primary ticket vendors should guard against the possibility of mass purchase by individuals (who have no intention of attending the event) in breach of contractual terms including by using “bots”.  This deprives ordinary consumers of the chance to acquire tickets at the price originally established by the event organiser.

He also recommends that primary market operators need to increase transparency and come together to standardise the way in which information on available ticket outlets and the pricing structure is made available to the public.

Professor Waterson also believes more should be done to inform consumers seeking tickets about how the market operates across both primary and secondary sellers.

The Government says that it will be responding to the report in due course.  To read the Government’s press release in full and for a link to Professor Waterson’s report, click here.