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Ticketing body in warning over advertising rule breaches

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The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers has warned that theatres are unintentionally breaching new guidelines on ticket pricing.

STAR is holding an open meeting in the West End to brief the entertainment sector about new official rules for advertising ticket prices, after expressing fears that many theatres are accidentally breaking them.

The move follows a string of rulings by the Advertising Standards Authority, which has censured a number of theatres, including the Old Vic, Charing Cross Theatre and Jackson’s Lane, for quoting misleading ticket prices on their websites.

Recently published guidelines from the Committee of Advertising Practice call for all charges, including booking fees, transaction charges and delivery costs, to be indicated as soon as a ticket price is mentioned in any marketing communications.

STAR secretary Jonathan Brown said he feared there would be “a large number of people who will be unaware that they are not complying with the guidelines – the truth is there are a lot of people who are not complying”.

He added that he was particularly worried about some subsidised theatres that might not realise they are breaching the CAP guidelines.

A representative from CAP will be present at the meeting, which will take place on June 20 at the Charing Cross Theatre.

Brown continued: “The truth is that the industry is very positive about the need to comply with the advertising rules but wants to be clear about the detail of how they need to do that. There is, of course, a need for ticket sellers of all sizes – from small venues to major ticket agents – to be aware of what’s required and this meeting will help give clear guidance as well as an opportunity to put questions directly to CAP.”

The Stage’s annual ticketing investigation, published earlier this month, revealed that West End shows are still charging an average of £1.12 in extra fees – down from the 2012 level of £1.96.

The meeting is open to both members and non- members of STAR, with Brown stressing that any organisation that sells tickets needs to be aware of the new guidelines.

Those wishing to attend the meeting can register at: www.star.org.uk/register.

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