How are MPs planning to stop ticket touts?

25 Apr 2014

Following a series of evidence-gathering sessions hearing from consumer groups and those working in the live event industry and ticketing agencies, The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse (APPG) has produced a raft of recommendations to increase transparency in the secondary ticketing market and stop fans getting scammed.

The MPs say they now plan to make changes to the Consumer Rights Bill, which will be debated in the Commons in May, to regulate the live music market which is estimated to be worth £1bn a year in the UK.

Measures already put in place to try and curb secondary selling, like limiting purchases to four tickets and requiring the credit card holder to be present when at the event, have not stopped tickets for shows appearing at a much higher price -such as the recently announced Kate Bush dates. Some tickets are now being resold for a minimum of £600 each – more than 12 times the face value of the lowest-priced tickets.

Recommendations made in the report include guaranteed compensation for fans falling victim to ticket scams through resale websites, covering their costs for getting to the event, a legal requirement for resale websites to publish full information about the tickets listed through them, as well as information on the seller, and responsibility for tracking down and prosecuting those committing ticket crimes to be given to a national Police agency.

The MPs also called on event organisers to do more to prevent their tickets being snapped up in large quantities by touts, as well as to establish refund and official exchange systems for genuine fans who find they can’t attend events – like that set up for Olympic tickets in 2012.

Mike Weatherley MP, Conservative co-chair of the APPG and Intellectual Property Advisor to the Prime Minister, said: “The whole industry needs to be much more open. Consumers deserve to know which tickets they’re buying and who they’re buying them from.

“Nobody’s saying there shouldn’t be a secondary market, but it needs to work in the favour of consumers and the creative sector, not of a few faceless individuals getting rich off the hard work, investment and talent of others.”

Sharon Hodgson MP, Labour co-chair of the APPG, said: “As the Metropolitan Police have said, the complete lack of transparency in the secondary ticketing market contributes to consumers getting ripped off – whether that’s through artificially high prices or buying fake or cancelled tickets, as lots of Drake fans have unfortunately done recently.

“There’s no excuse for inaction from either the secondary market or the Government, and I hope Ministers will use the Consumer Rights Bill to put fans first.”