StubHub forced to add warning to its UK site that resold tickets may be invalid

The UK government's Competition and Markets Authority have enforced the changes to the secondary ticketing site

StubHub have been forced to add a warning to customers who visit their UK site to inform them that tickets bought through their reselling service may not be valid.

The UK government-run Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) called on StubHub UK back in January to make changes in order “to address concerns that its website was not complying with commitments it made to clean up its site following a consumer law investigation”. StubHub had been threatened with court action by the CMA if it did not make urgent changes.

Posting an update on the case yesterday (August 19) the CMA said they were “now satisfied”, based on “evidence it has seen and monitoring it has carried out”, that StubHub UK had made a string of changes to their operations.

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This includes “adequately warning people where tickets bought on the UK site may not get them into an event”, removing “inaccurate messages about ticket availability” and “no longer advertising tickets for overseas events that may not comply with UK consumer law”.

StubHub UK have also committed to “ensuring people know exactly where they will sit in a venue” and “taking sufficient steps to ensure that the full addresses of business sellers are displayed”.

Responding to the CMA’s findings, a StubHub spokeswoman said: “We are pleased that the CMA has confirmed that StubHub has addressed the CMA’s concerns. We have worked closely with the CMA to evolve our site in the best interest of our customers.

“As a fan-first marketplace, StubHub has always cooperated closely with regulators and will continue to do so, appreciating the dynamic regulatory environment in which we operate.”

Tickets

The CMA’s latest statement on StubHub was, however, criticised by UK ticketing security expert Reg Walker. “These companies have summarily been allowed to fleece consumers for years and years,” Walker said [via The Guardian]. “[Consumers] are not receiving any protection under consumer protection law. They’re essentially being thrown under the bus.”

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In response to Walker’s criticism, a spokesperson for the CMA said: “We have secured changes to StubHub’s UK site to address our concerns and, as these are formal undertakings, we can continue to hold them to account for their compliance.

“We also achieved this without a lengthy court process. If fresh information emerges that suggests StubHub is not meeting its obligations, the CMA will not hesitate to take further action – through the courts if necessary.”

The CMA added that a separate investigation into viagogo’s acquisition of StubHub is still ongoing, with meetings on the merger expected to take place next month. You can find out more information about that here.

In regards to new issues relating to secondary ticketing sites, such as concerns about cancellations and refunds, that have emerged during the coronavirus pandemic, the CMA said that “if it emerges that consumer protection law is being broken, the CMA will consider whether further action might be necessary to address these issues”.

Last month, Viagogo were reportedly accused of “refusing” to offer music fans refunds for gigs cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Acknowledging that “customers might be left disappointed by the fact that thousands of events globally are being postponed, rescheduled or cancelled”, a spokesperson for Viagogo said in response to the allegations: “If an event is rescheduled, the customer’s tickets remain valid, per our terms and conditions, and therefore they are not entitled to a refund. The customer always has the option of relisting their tickets on the platform if they can no longer attend the new date.

“If an event is completely cancelled the customer is entitled to a cash refund or 125% voucher. In the case of refunds, we appreciate our customers’ patience while we process their request.”

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