Government ‘touts summit’ announces ticket measures

Swap shop and 'shop a tout' phoneline among new initiatives

The Government and the live entertainment industry have announced a new series of measures to tackle touting, following a meeting today (February 8) oragnised by the Department For Media, Culture And Sport.

The latest “touts summit” saw Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell MP and a selection of event organisers, box offices and internet auction sites agreeing “to protect consumers and improve the ticketing market place”.

The new measured that have been agreed to include an official ticket exchange system allowing fans to swap tickets among themselves, while auction sites will now carry information about the original price and details about the seat or access the ticket provides.

The industry will also “finalising terms and conditions for tickets which are fair both to the consumer and the event organiser” that will govern how tickets can be used by consumers, plus a “shop a tout” phone line will be introduced to allow members of the public to report unscrupulous ticket sellers.

“Exploitation and excessive profiteering by touts puts tickets out of the reach of real fans – it is a corrosive force in entertainment. We are determined to protect consumers against this,” explained Jowell.

“We want to address the problems faced by fans – paying through the nose for a ticket with a poor view or handing over cash for a ticket that never existed. Progress has been made but we’re going to continue to work with the industry to cut off the commercial opportunities for ticket touts and stamp out unfair practices.”

However the Government stopped short of legislating against touting.

They not only sited a new European Law – Unfair Commercial Practices Directive – which should protect ticket buyers more when it comes into force later this year, along with their own survey which suggested respondents do not want the practice outlawed so they can get rid of unwanted tickets.

“It would be unfair if consumers were unable to sell their own tickets, for whatever reason, and get their money back – we don’t want to criminalise genuine fans,” said Jowell, though she hinted she might look at protecting specific events.

“I will continue to investigate whether there is a case for putting in place a system to protect events of national importance such as The Ashes and the Concert For Diana – from the grasp of touts,” the Secretary Of State explained.

The “touts summit” was the fourth such meeting and looked at touting across drama and sport as well as music.

A further meeting is planned for later this year.