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National Trading Standards raids four properties in ticket tout investigation

By | Published on Thursday 14 December 2017

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National Trading Standards has revealed that on Tuesday it raided four properties in the UK in relation to alleged misconduct in the ticket resale market, which is to say ticket resellers allegedly breaching consumer rights rules.

Although the resale of tickets in the UK is still only lightly regulated, there are some rules governing both the touts themselves and the websites they use to do their touting. Some of those specifically relate to secondary ticketing via the 2015 Consumer Rights Act, but industrial level touts are also subject to other consumer protection laws too.

Anti-tout campaigners have often pointed out that while they would like new rules to be introduced to further limit the touting of tickets, at the same time existing regulations need to be better enforced. Or, in many cases, enforced at all. In his government-commissioned review of secondary ticketing last year, Professor Waterson proposed that National Trading Standards was best positioned to do that enforcing.

Yesterday that agency confirmed that on Tuesday its officers “conducted raids at a number of properties across the UK. These raids are part of an ongoing investigation looking into unfair practices in the secondary ticketing market and particularly the practices of businesses that buy and sell tickets in bulk”.

It went on: “A total of four properties were raided and four people were arrested under suspicion of breaches of the Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. In addition to the arrests a range of equipment – including computers, mobile phones and storage devices – have been seized as evidence”.

The raids by National Trading Standards follow the recent announcement by the Competition And Markets Authority that it planned to “take action against secondary ticketing websites suspected of breaking consumer rights laws – through the courts, if necessary”, following an investigation into the operations of the big four ticket resale sites. National Trading Standards added yesterday that it was liaising closely with the CMA in its bid to enforce consumer rights rules in the ticket touting domain.

This week’s raids were welcomed by anti-touting campaign group FanFair, which said in a statement: “FanFair Alliance welcomes what sounds like a comprehensive raid by National Trading Standards. With new legislation due for enforcement in 2018, and the Competition And Markets Authority promising action against secondary ticketing sites that break consumer protection laws, this should mark the beginning of a long-awaited clean up of this market”.