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Secondary ticketing sites promise transparency overhaul

Officers raided four properties as part of an ongoing investigation into secondary ticketing. Photo: Shutterstock StubHub, Get Me In! and Seatwave have committed to being more transparent about ticketing information. Photo: Shutterstock
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Three of the biggest secondary ticketing platforms have formally committed to being more transparent about the information they publish when they resell tickets.

StubHub, Get Me In! and Seatwave have pledged to ensure that customers buying tickets through their sites are given better information to help them decide whether to buy or not.

The three platforms have promised to make significant changes to the way they gather and display information, such as whether there is a risk the customer might get turned away at the door if they purchase the ticket, which seat they will get and who they are buying from.

They will make it mandatory for sellers to provide this information when they list a ticket, and have said they will carry out their own checks on primary sites about any relevant resale restrictions.

This comes a month after the largest secondary ticketing sites were banned by the Advertising Standards Authority from listing misleading prices when reselling tickets and told they must make the total price clear at the beginning of the booking process alongside any extra fees.

While StubHub, Get Me In! and Seatwave have now publicly committed to the most recent pledge around transparency, the fourth major operator Viagogo, which is routinely criticised for being the worst offender, has not signed up.

The Competition and Markets Authority said it raised the same concerns with Viagogo as it had with the other sites, including its “historic failure to comply with a commitment given in 2015”, however it has so far not agreed to sign up.

Michael Grenfell, the CMA’s executive director for enforcement, stressed that all secondary ticketing sites must play by the rules and treat customers fairly, and said he welcomed the promises made by StubHub, Seatwave and Get Me In!.

“So far Viagogo has failed to address our concerns, and we are determined to ensure they comply with the law. We are prepared to use the full range of our powers to protect customers – including action through the courts,” he added.

The move has been welcomed by campaigners including the FanFair Alliance, whose campaign manager Adam Webb said the announcement was vindication of the group’s attempt to overhaul the secondary ticketing market.

“UK audiences have been taken for a ride for too long by the biggest secondary platforms and the dedicated touts who fuel their business. They will now be forced to dramatically change their practices and provide proper transparency. This cannot come soon enough,” he said.

Last week, a new lobbying organisation formed by a group of “responsible” ticket resellers was launched in order to speak out in support of smaller-scale sellers operating in the secondary market and improve the industry’s reputation.

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