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Secondary ticketing campaigners back call for “effective and unambiguous” new responsibilities for online marketplaces

By | Published on Tuesday 12 October 2021


The pan-European campaign against for-profit secondary ticketing – FEAT – has backed a statement organised by the European Consumer Organisation calling on European Union lawmakers to ensure that the in-development Digital Services Act closes loopholes in current law and ensures that online marketplaces are responsible for combatting illegal activity and protecting consumers on their platforms.

The DSA is a wide-ranging set of proposals that will increase the legal obligations of digital platforms operating in Europe. The statement organised by the European Consumer Organisation is backed by a diverse mix of other lobbying groups, all of which have concerns over illegal activity and anti-consumer practices found on various online marketplaces, and the fact the marketplaces themselves can currently circumvent liability for that activity and those practices.

Campaigners want new laws whereby marektplaces can be held liable if they are aware of the illegal activity on their platforms, or do not do enough to ensure rogue operators are prevented from using their services. In the words of the European Consumer Organisation, the signatories to its statement want “effective and unambiguous rules … to tackle illegal activities and rogue traders”.

Putting all this into a secondary ticketing perspective – and regarding the possible impact the DSA could have on the platforms that allow the resale of tickets for profit – FEAT says in a statement: “The Digital Services Act offers the opportunity to put a stop to the exploitation of live music, entertainment and sports fans at the hands of ticket touts, who are able to operate on ticket resale sites across Europe under a veil of anonymity”.

FEAT Director Sam Shemtob adds: “Secondary ticketing legislation across Europe takes the form of a patchwork of laws that differ from state to state. This enables unscrupulous marketplaces with deep pockets to operate with impunity – ripping off fans and damaging the entire live sector”.

“The evidence of wrongdoing is overwhelming”, he says. “By increasing accountability and introducing basic due diligence requirements that are uniform across Europe, the Digital Services Act can help create a ticket resale ecosystem that stops fans being ripped off and strengthens the recovery of the live sector post-COVID”.

Amendments to the draft DSA are currently being discussed and voted on in the European Parliament, with the committee ultimately responsible for the legislation on the Parliament’s side preparing to vote on the final text it wishes to take forward.

The European Consumer Organisation statement is online here.