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New campaign launched by “responsible secondary ticket operators”

By | Published on Wednesday 18 April 2018

Fair Ticketing Alliance

With politicians in the UK much more prone to regulate secondary ticketing of late, a new organisation has launched calling itself the Fair Ticketing Alliance with plans to “speak out in favour of responsible secondary ticket operators”.

Whereas ten years ago there was a reluctance in political circles to regulate the resale of tickets for profit online, more recent campaigning by those in the music industry who oppose touting has started to gain traction, in Britain and beyond.

The UK Consumer Rights Act in 2015 included some light regulation, with a couple of extra measures having been added since, and both National Trading Standards and the Competition & Markets Authority have started working to enforce those rules in respect to both resellers and the resale websites they use.

Some promoters have also become more prolific in seeking to cancel touted tickets, resale usually being in violation of the original ticket’s terms and conditions. That requires knowing that a ticket has been resold. Under the CRA, resellers are meant to publish seat numbers when advertising tickets for sale, and a new rule that’s just come into effect will require the publication of unique ticket numbers too, where promoters provide such a thing.

While most of the lobbying against further regulation of the secondary market has, in the past, been led by the resale platform owners like eBay and Live Nation, the Fair Ticketing Alliance brings together those who actually do the reselling. Although only the “responsible ticket brokers”, the new organisation is keen to stress.

Those “responsible ticket brokers”, we are told, are concerned about “increasing market uncertainty which threatens the future of their mainly small, often family-run, businesses and the valuable service they provide to fans”.

The Alliance seems to support some regulation of the resale of tickets, mainly via a proposed scheme to license resellers, similar to systems that already exist in some US states. But in return they want to right to resell protected.

The new organisation’s Chair Stephen Lee says: “The ticketing market is currently failing to address the needs of live entertainment fans in the UK. A well-functioning secondary market should correct flaws in the primary market, but we are hamstrung by legal uncertainty that helps neither operators nor consumers. We believe responsible commercial operators should be free to re-sell tickets, like consumers, without unfair restrictions. In return, operators should be properly licensed and comply with the highest standards of ethics”.

The Alliance says it has three core aims at launch: more clarity on the current regulations; moves to ensure resale platforms enable resellers to comply with the law; and “changes in UK laws to give responsible, secondary operators the right to re-sell tickets whilst protecting consumer interests”.

Lee adds: “For too long, the secondary ticketing industry has been in the shadows, suffering from a poor reputation, afraid to defend itself. We aim to change that. We’re all extremely passionate and have a deep knowledge of the entertainment areas in which we specialise, which enables us to provide a valuable and necessary service to other live entertainment fans. We just want to do the right thing within the law. That’s why we created the Fair Ticketing Alliance. We hope others who support our aims will join us in the campaign to improve the ticketing experience for all fans”.

CMU Insights will present a brand new speed briefing on the secondary ticketing market and efforts to regulate it – in the UK and beyond – at the Wide Days conference in Edinburgh on Friday.