News story: New rules introduced to protect consumers against ticket touting

Fans of live events are set to benefit from new rules which will demand more information from sellers on secondary ticket websites.

Under the new rules, which will come into force in April 2018, ticket resellers will be required to provide purchasers with additional detailed information about tickets including the location of seats, disclosure of any restrictions and the original price of the ticket itself.

New guidance has also been published today to help prepare business for these changes, providing clarity to ensure they comply while also securing a better deal for consumers.

Consumer Minister Andrew Griffiths said:

All too often people are left feeling ripped off when buying tickets from resale websites. Whether it’s a major music festival or a stadium concert, people want to know they’re paying a fair price for tickets to see the events they love.

We are already taking steps to crack down on touts using “bots” to bulk buy tickets for resale and the CMA is investigating suspected breaches of consumer protection law online and today we are going even further, making it easier for consumers to understand what they are buying to help save them from rip off ticket prices.

Later this year, we will also publish a Consumer Green Paper which will examine how we can help people to engage with markets to find the best deals.”

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said:

We want real fans to get the chance to see their favourite stars at a fair price. That is why we are clamping down on touts using bots to buy huge numbers of tickets, only to sell them on at rip-off prices.

Today’s guidance will give consumers even greater protection and transparency in the secondary market, helping Britain’s live events scene to continue to thrive.

Under the new rules, ticket resellers will have to provide additional detailed information about the tickets they are selling to better inform and protect consumers. This will mean that ticket resellers must:

  • identify the location to which the ticket provides access – such as the particular seat or standing area of the venue;
  • disclose any restrictions that apply to the category of person who can use the ticket;
  • disclose the original price of the ticket; and
  • reveal the details of connections they have with either the online facility on which they are selling, or the organiser of the event for which the ticket is being sold.

For the first time, resellers will also have to supply the unique ticket number (UTN) to the purchaser if the event organiser or primary seller specifies one, helping to identify the tickets seat, standing area or location.

Today’s guidance demonstrates a further commitment from government to improve conditions for consumers in the secondary market. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is taking enforcement action against secondary ticketing websites suspected of breaking consumer law, whilst the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are investigating whether secondary ticketing websites have broken advertising rules.

Last week Google also announced that from 7 February they will require ticket resellers to be certified before they can advertise through their AdWords service. This should make it easier for consumers to find tickets on the primary market.

Citizens Advice provide information for consumers about buying event tickets and how to make sure a ticketing site is genuine.