House of Lords votes to make changes to online secondary ticketing

The Lords voted to add a new clause to the Consumer Rights Bill forcing ticket resellers to be more transparent.

The House of Lords has cracked down on the rules around secondary ticketing by making it compulsory that sellers reveal their identity and the face value of their tickets.

The Lords voted to add a new clause to the Consumer Rights Bill forcing ticket resellers to be more transparent.

The amendment, which was approved by 183 votes to 171 yesterday (November 20), will see online secondary ticket outlets such as Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo also publish details like seat numbers and booking references, as well as state whether the terms and conditions give the promoters the right to block entry if they discover the ticket was resold.

The move, which stems from a report published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse in April, was led by former chairman of the British Olympic Association Lord Moynihan and former England women’s cricket captain Baroness Heyhoe Flint. Lord Moynihan estimated that online ticket fraud hits 2.3 million consumers a year and costs £1.5 billion.

“This simple, clear amendment is about increasing transparency,” he said. “It is about improving and reducing regulation and about empowering consumers.”

The live music industry is reportedly split over the decision, however. Viagogo has said that the amendment would only damage consumers by pushing sellers out of secure platforms. “The proposals in this amendment would damage the interests of the very consumers whom the Bill is seeking to protect. Adding extra complications to the process of reselling tickets deters people from using secure, guaranteed platforms and they will just revert to using classified ads, auction sites and sellers on the street where there is little consumer protection,” a statement from the ticketing site read.

“We believe the only reason for identifying seller and ticket information to the level proposed in the amendment is to help event organisers prevent the resale of tickets and possibly to cancel them, which anyone can see is not in the public interest.”

Furthermore, according to music website CMU, Live Nation’s Ticketmaster, which sells both primary and secondary tickets, has argued that over-regulating resales will push touts onto online platforms outside the UK’s jurisdiction, which would make incidents of fraud more likely. It added that any regulation should focus on softwares that enable touts to buy up significant portions of tickets.

But welcoming the vote, Lib Dem Lord Tim Clement-Jones, who was behind the Live Music Act in 2012, told reporters: “This is a victory both for the ticket-buying public and for the hugely important live event industry.

“The police and the entertainment industry have been clear that action needs to be taken on ticket touts to ensure that genuine fans can get access to gigs, shows and games without having to pay extortionate prices, and these new measures would do exactly that”.

Earlier this week, Foo Fighters asked their fans to buy pre-sale tickets from their local venue box office in an attempt to warn off touts. “Fans sick of Scalper-BOTS programmed to clog online queues and snatch up huge amounts of tickets to resell them will get first shot at tickets to these shows,” the band said.