Secondary ticketing websites could be closed down in the UK under new proposals designed to stop “unscrupulous” ticket touts.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has put forward new legislation that would effectively ban online secondhand ticket marketplaces from being accessed in Britain unless they are granted new types of licenses to operate. Sites such as Viagogo and StubHub could then be taken down if they are found to break consumer protraction laws.
“The abuses in the secondary ticket market are clear as day and the CMA have been provided a wealth of evidence on this,” said Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, who has been one of a group of UK politicians examining what she described as the “parasitical” secondary ticketing market. “Fixing the secondary ticket market to make it fit for fans will require political will from the government and time allowed in parliament.”
A Viagogo spokesperson said: “The CMA’s report into Secondary Ticketing offers an interesting insight into the effectiveness of current regulation. We welcome the exposure this gives to the strength of Viagogo’s customer protections and the recognition of the importance regulated platforms play in ensuring customer confidence when accessing live events.
“The CMA notes their report is not as a result of customer complaints and moreover, that a ban on secondary platforms would lead to an explosion in black market sources for tickets. We have argued strongly that the UK should grasp the opportunity of the COVID-19 recovery to improve the events industry and strengthen market collaboration between all players including event organisers, venues, primary and resale platforms.
“We are open to all ideas as to how that is achieved, but it must be carefully considered and focused on improving the industry’s service for customers. There is a need to address the failings of the primary market and we need to explore the risks of new and unregulated online resale channels.”
Viagogo was the subject of a 2020 report by consumer group Which?, including accusations of refusing to offer refunds for gigs cancelled due to the pandemic. It has also been accused of allowing so-called ticket touts to operate on the platform, helping dramatically inflate the price of secondary ticket sales. Last month, DJ Mag reported on how this sector was causing huge problems for fans as events begin to return following the lengthy closure of venues as a result of coronavirus.