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Hodgson and Weatherley welcome Commons support for ticket touting rules, but point to importance of future review

By | Published on Tuesday 10 March 2015


As the reworked version of the secondary ticketing rules set to be added to the Consumer Rights Bill were debated in the House Of Commons yesterday, the two MPs who have led on the bid to regulate the reselling of tickets online welcomed the latest developments.

As previously reported, a ticket touting section was added to new consumer rights legislation by the House Of Lords last year, but with the government opposing the measures it was rejected in the Commons. A streamlined version of the proposed rules was then re-proposed in the Lords last month, this time with government backing, meaning Commons support is now assured.

The new rules will force people reselling tickets online in the UK to provide more information about the tickets they are selling, including any restrictions and the original ticket price. Secondary ticketing services will also be compelled to be more proactive in spotting and reporting fraud.

However, the requirement that the seller’s identity be revealed was dropped in the final proposals. Secondary ticketing platforms feared that measure most, because it would mean tout-hating promoters could go through the resale sites cancelling all the tickets they saw being resold. The ticket resale firms argued that that would just send all the touts to secondary services outside the UK, where there could be no regulation at all.

Speaking after yesterday’s Commons debate on touting rules, Sharon Hodgson MP, a long-time campaigner on this issue, said: “This is an issue I have campaigned on for a very long time now, and today we finally saw the amendment accepted in the House Of Commons. It may have taken longer than I had hoped, but the Government finally backed down from its total opposition and accepted these new measures that will do so much to clean up the secondary ticket market, and today certainly marks a real success in this fight”.

The proposals also obligate the Government to review the secondary ticketing issue again in a year’s time. On that Hodgson added: “Now that this has been accepted the crucial next step is to conduct the review, which will hopefully highlight even more ways to protect fans and make the culture of exploitation a thing of the past. The review needs to have strong leadership in order to tackle the scope of the problems, but as long as whoever leads it has the best interests of fans as their key consideration then I am confident it will bring about even more ways to improve the secondary ticketing market in order that it works in the interests of fans, not touts”.

Meanwhile Mike Weatherley, who worked with Hodgson on setting up the APPG On Ticket Abuse, whose research informed the new regulations, said ahead of yesterday’s Commons debate: “This has been a long standing campaign by both myself and the APPG to get some overdue changes in place. Once enacted, the amendment will provide greater transparency for fans, including seat number or standing information, the face value of the ticket, and if any restrictions apply. Like all compromises, neither side is fully happy with the solution, but on balance, this is a good step in the right direction. To misquote EM Forster, two cheers for this amendment. I am pleased we will have enacted this law before the end of this parliament, but the review over the next twelve months is the important part”.