News

Media releases from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse. For any media enquiries, please contact Daniel Tye at tyed@parliament.uk.

21st March 2017

Sharon Hodgson MP, Labour Co-chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse and a campaigner against ticket touts for over 8 years, said following the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing:

“After my 8 years of campaigning on this issue, it was excellent to see Parliament investigate the secondary ticketing market further – especially after their short inquiry session at the end of last year.

“Whilst viagogo failed to turn up and decided to hold Parliament and the wider British public in contempt, the session was productive and allowed for another chance to shine a light on this market and the abuses that go on within it.

“This ranged from what more can be done to enforce legislation, what testing of current consumer legislation should be taken in court, all the way to the principle of my Private Members Bill in 2011 to cap resale of tickets to face value plus 10% being revisited; to name just a few of the many ideas raised.

“This is an important step in the right direction to clean up this parasitical market so that fans are put first and it will be crucial in our next steps to see what comes from this inquiry.”

20th March 2017

Sharon Hodgson MP, Labour Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, backs Fan Fair Alliance’s guide to equip fans with the tools to navigate the secondary market: 

“It is fantastic that FanFair Alliance have published their guide, backed by numerous artists and promoters including Mumford & Sons, You Me At Six and Amy Macdonald, to ensure that all fans are put first and equipped with the tools to navigate this parasitical and broken market. This guide will be an ideal companion for all fans to use and complements the work going on within the live entertainment industry and in Parliament to clean up this murky market.”

To see others who have backed the guide, including Mumford & Sons, Ed Sheeran & You Me At Six!, follow this link here

To read the guide, follow this link here

14th March 2017

Sharon Hodgson MP, Labour Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, writes for the Huffington Post on Victims of Viagogo

You can read Sharon’s Huffington Post blog on the Victims of Viagogo by following this link here.

13th March 2017

Sharon Hodgson MP, Labour Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, reacting to the Government’s announcement that they will ban the misuse of bots & implementing all of the recommendations of the Waterson Review into the secondary ticketing market:

“It is excellent news that the Government have now accepted the Ban the Bots amendment and will finally accept all of the recommendations of the Waterson Review, which to be frank, has been a long time coming.

“This is all down to the concerted campaigning of a whole host of people and organisations who have pushed the Government to do more to put fans first in this broken and parasitical market, and as someone who has been campaigning on this for a very long time, I am delighted that we have seen this day come. 

“These measures will ensure that fans are protected and have assurances that they will not be ripped off any longer, but there still remains work to do to make sure that these measures are enforced properly so touts do not circumvent them as this is going to very soon be the law of the land.”

19th December 2016

APPG ON TICKET ABUSE WELCOMES CONSUMER MARKETS AUTHORITY’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF ENFORCEMENT INVESTIGATION INTO ONLINE SECONDARY TICKETING

Today, the APPG on Ticket Abuse has welcomed the launch of an enforcement investigation into online secondary ticketing by the Consumer Markets Authority (CMA); however, this has also raised concerns that information to consumers is not enough on its own and action by the Government on touts bulk buying tickets for the sole intention of reselling must be taken.

This enforcement investigation follows an initial review into the 4 main secondary ticketing websites (Stubhub, Viagogo, Seatwave and GetMeIn!) following undertakings agreed by the CMA and the platforms in March 2015.

As part of this review, the transparency measures set out in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 were also investigated. These measures were successfully added to the Act during its passage by Parliamentarians, and were investigated after calls by the APPG on Ticket Abuse members who felt these new statutory measures should be included as part of the investigation into the voluntary undertakings agreed between the CMA and the Big 4 platforms.

The CMA Review has found that one website was not fully complying with the agreed undertakings and other consumer legislation, such as the Consumer Rights Act, were not being complied with. This confirms the often daily examples which show that fans are being ripped off by touts who use the secondary platforms to resell their tickets.

The APPG also believes that there needs to be action taken around touts, who pretend to be consumers, and bulk purchase for the sole intention of reselling, otherwise consumers will continue to be ripped off. There are a number of ways for this to be addressed, including the Government supporting the calls for a ban on the misuse of bots as part of the Digital Economy Bill and implementing recommendations set out in the Waterson Review from earlier this year.

Sharon Hodgson MP, Labour Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, said:

“It is welcome that there will now finally be enforcement of the consumer rights legislation on the statute book and the undertakings agreed between the Big 4 and the CMA.

“The non-compliance evidence found by the CMA backs up the often daily accounts, both online and in the press, that fans are being ripped off or not getting all the information they need when buying off secondary website. This is one part of a multi-faceted problem in this broken market.

“We know that non-compliance is rife within the market, and now that the Consumer Rights Act has been on the statute book for over a year, it is paramount that enforcement action is taken seriously and swiftly. Alongside this, we need to see the Government taking action on the issue of bulk purchasing of tickets for the sole intention of resale, otherwise this market will remain broken and fans will be continually ripped off.”

7th September 2016

Ticket Abuse APPG holds its AGM and welcomes new Vice-Chairs

On 7th September, the Ticket Abuse APPG held its AGM where it elected its officers for the coming year and also discussed the next steps to push ahead with getting the Government to respond to the Waterson Review into secondary ticketing.

Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West, and Lord Moynihan, Conservative member of the House of Lords, have continued as Co-Chairs of the APPG.

Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP for Bristol East, Stephen McPartland, Conservative MP for Stevenage, and Nick Smith, Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent were all re-elected as Vice-Chairs.

At the AGM, the current officers welcomed Lord Clement-Jones, Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords, and Alison Thewliss, SNP MP for Glasgow Central, as new Vice-Chairs.

Sharon Hodgson MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, said:

“It is wonderful to see our cross-party APPG reformed for another year, especially with a busy few months lobbying the Government to get to work on implementing all of the recommendations in the Waterson Review into the secondary ticketing market.

“I am also delighted to welcome Lord Clement-Jones, a long-time supporter of our campaign, and Alison Thewliss MP to our officers, which now extends not only the cross-party reach of our campaign but also the geographical reach, with three of the four home nations represented at the table for our campaign. I’m looking forward to continuing working with our current officers and our two new officers to continue our campaign to put fans first.”

ENDS


18th August 2016

Co-Chair of cross-party Parliamentary campaign writes to Culture Secretary calling for her to put fans first following Wembley fact-finding mission

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, has today written to the new Culture Secretary calling on her to put fans first after a Wembley fact-finding mission where a group of Members of Parliament saw first-hand the activities of ticket touts at the International Championship match between Liverpool and Barcelona on 6th August.

Key findings from the fact-finding mission include:

  • An example where a teenage Barcelona fan paid £170 for a ticket to the match, after a tout had told him the face-value of the ticket was £100, when in fact, it was £26.
  • There were also reports after the match that a family from Spain, who had purchased tickets outside the venue, were subsequently turned away as their tickets were invalid for entry.
  • A well-known name in the resale of tickets who was in operation on the day was Roger Leigh, business partner to David Spanton, who was responsible for the failure to deliver on 38,000 tickets and convicted in 2012. Other well-known touts in operation on the day, included Leonard Scott & Les Hawkins.
  • Touts were in operation from the steps of Wembley Park Tube Station all the way down Olympic Way, and specifically in the area in front of Wembley Park Tube Station where there were up to 30 touts in operation.

In her letter to the Culture Secretary, Sharon Hodgson MP writes about what was uncovered on the fact-finding mission, along with calling for the Culture Secretary to begin the process of implementing the recommendations set out in the Waterson Review with her ministerial colleagues in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and back campaigns such as Fan Fair Alliance.

Following her letter to the new Culture Secretary, Sharon Hodgson MP said:

“Following our fact-finding mission to Wembley, we uncovered the scope and scale of ticket touts operating on the ground and fleecing fans desperate to get tickets to a hotly anticipated football match at our national stadium. The fact-finding clearly reaffirmed the need for action to be taken by the Government.

“This is why I have written to the new Culture Secretary asking her to support our campaign by working with her colleagues in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and begin to implement the recommendations in the Waterson Review and with campaign groups, like FanFair Alliance, and finally ensure fans are put first is this unfair market.”

You can read the letter to the Culture Secretary here.


14th July 2016

Sharon Hodgson MP, Co-Chair of APPG, supports launch of FanFair Alliance

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ticket Abuse, has today supported the launch of the new FanFair Alliance – a campaign group which unites music businesses, artists and fans against abuses in the secondary ticketing market.

At a launch in Central London today, FanFair Alliance brought together interested parties, including managers of bands such as Artic Monkeys, One Direction and Mumford and Sons, along with music trade bodies including Music Managers Forum, to urge the Government to take four pragmatic steps that would ensure the fraudulent activity of touts is stopped and face value tickets are put into the hands of fans.

These four steps include:

  1. Enforcement – especially of legislation such as the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
  2. Transparency – where fans know who they are buying from.
  3. Responsibility – where secondary platforms are showing corporate responsibility towards consumer protection legislation.
  4. Supply – to address the abuse of technology, such as ‘bots’, which harvests tickets and stops fans from getting tickets.

Fans can sign up to the campaign by visiting the website here: www.fanfairalliance.org to share their experiences and stories.

Following the launch of FanFair Alliance, Sharon Hodgson MP, said:

“For too long fans have been ripped off by ticket touts and the Government have continually failed to offer support to fans to put them first, through ensuring legislation is properly implemented and has the teeth to protect fans from the abuses seen in the secondary market.

“The launch of FanFair Alliance so soon after the publication of the Waterson Review which called on the Government to do more in this area, is welcome news and will provide fans with a way to voice their concerns with the secondary market. I hope many fans will sign up to this campaign by visiting their website.

“I look forward to working closely with FanFair Alliance to ensure Parliament can help voice the concerns of fans with Government and in order that fans are put first once and for all.”


9th June 2016

Co-Chair welcomes Professor Waterson to APPG meeting of Parliamentarians and stakeholders

Following the publication of the Waterson Review, the APPG invited Professor Waterson to attend a meeting where Parliamentarians and stakeholders discussed the findings and recommendations of the review’s report in the Houses of Parliament.

The discussions at the meeting focused around enforcement of the consumer legislation, such as the Consumer Rights Act 2015, the issue of ‘what is a ticket?’, terms and conditions placed on tickets & the issue of technology used to harvest tickets, such as ‘bots’ and other issues.

Following the meeting, Co-Chair of the APPG, Sharon Hodgson MP said:

“It was wonderful to have Professor Waterson come along to speak at one of our APPG meetings so soon after the publication of his report and spend so much time speaking with Parliamentarians and stakeholders about what the next steps are in reforming the secondary market to ensure fans are put first.

“The APPG strongly welcomed the Review’s report and the recommendations which would see better enforcement of the legislation around this issue and seeing consumers put at the centre of the market, instead of always being ripped off, that is why we will be working over the coming months to ensure the Government responds meaningfully and acts to see these recommendations achieved.”


5th June 2016

APPG Co-Chair supports Which?’s warning to consumers about unofficial sites selling Euro 2016 tickets

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, has backed calls by Which? that warns consumers about unofficial ticketing sites reselling Euro 2016 tickets, which could see fans turned away at the gates, and to only buy and resell through the official Euro 2016 resale site.

The terms and conditions of UEFA tickets are strict in saying that tickets cannot be resold except through their official resale sites, and photo ID must be accompanied with the ticket to gain entry to the stadium.

Evidence found through a Which? investigation showed that resale sites, such as GetTickets and ATS Tickets, are not complying with measures set out in the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which state that resale sites must provide details to the consumer of seat location, original face value of the ticket and restrictions on the ticket.

This comes after the independent secondary ticketing inquiry by Professor Waterson said that the onus should be on secondary ticketing sites to ensure compliance with consumer law is happening.

Professor Waterson also outlined consumer guidance on the buying of tickets for an event, which highlight being wary of scams and fraudulent activity when buying tickets to an event which can rip-off fans and see them locked out of the event.

Following the warning by Which? ahead of Euro 2016, Sharon Hodgson MP, said:

“The work Which? has been doing in recent months to raise awareness amongst consumers about the fraudulent activities of ticket touts and secondary ticketing sites is vital to ensure that fans are put first in this market. Which?’s warning to consumers ahead of Euro 2016 is an important one which will help raise consumer awareness so they don’t get ripped off by scams.

“It is clear from Professor Waterson’s report from over a week ago that more must be done by the secondary market to ensure that the measures set out in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 are being met when sellers put tickets up on their websites and when fraud does occur then it should be reported to Action Fraud.

“Much of this can be addressed through Government action by supporting Waterson’s recommendation for an investigation by National Trading Standards, supported by the Police, to ensure that transparency and consumer protections are being met in the resale markets. The Business Secretary and Culture Secretary must ensure the necessary funding is in place to make sure this happens, so that fans are put first.”


26th May 2016

APPG on Ticket Abuse welcomes recommendation for an investigation by Police and National Trading Standards into compliance of the law by the secondary ticketing market

Following the publication of the independent review into the secondary ticketing market, the APPG on Ticket Abuse Co-Chair Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, welcomes the recommendation of an investigation by Police and National Trading Standards into the failures to abide by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 by the secondary ticketing market.

The review by Professor Michael Waterson of Warwick University was commissioned by the Government following the passing of the Consumer Rights Act, where Section 94 of the Act called for a review to be undertaken. The review’s report was published today.

The review clearly highlights the dysfunctionality and lack of consumer protection by the secondary ticketing platforms, along with the primary markets, and the need for action to be taken by both platforms and the Government to ensure what the APPG has been calling for: that fans are put first.

This also comes after over 40,000 fans have signed a Parliamentary Petition calling for enforcement of the transparency measures in the Consumer Rights Act and for the identity of sellers to be known when buying tickets.

The call for an investigation by the Police and National Trading Standards is an action that the APPG on Ticket Abuse has called for previously and the APPG welcomes the recommendation from Professor Waterson calling for this to happen, and that the resources for this are found by Government.

Other recommendations in the review include:

  • enforcement action to be taken regarding breaches of the transparency measures in the Consumer Rights Act 2015, including an onus on secondary platforms to ensure these measures are being met by sellers;
  • that identification of “traders”, or more commonly-known as “power-sellers”, by secondary ticketing markets to be actioned and if action is not taken that the Government should consider a licensing system, and;
  • action to be taken by both primary markets to address the issue of ‘bots’.

The review also found that genuine fans are not the main source of business to the resale platforms, which has been the main argument of the four main secondary resale websites.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, said:

“It is welcome that we have seen some solid recommendations come out of the Waterson review today, which clearly is calling for fans to be put first within the market, and not be an afterthought. This is a step in the right direction in our cross-party campaign.

“For too long, fans have lacked consumer protections which would reduce the underhand actions of profiteering and fraudulence in the secondary market which sees fans ripped off, that is why it is welcome that Professor Waterson has called for the enforcement of the Consumer Rights Act – which we know has been continuously flouted since it was enacted last year – and for the onus to be on the secondary sites to ensure sellers comply with the transparency measures, instead of washing their hands of this responsibility.

“Now that Professor Waterson has presented his findings to the Government and Parliament, it is time for the Business Secretary and Culture Secretary to ensure these actions are taken forward, and our group of cross-party Parliamentarians will be pushing the Government to make good on these recommendations in the coming months and years.”

ENDS

  • The APPG on Ticket Abuse is Co-chaired by Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West, and Lord Moynihan, Conservative Member of the House of Lords. The other officers of the APPG include: Kerry McCarthy MP (Labour), Stephen McPartland MP (Conservative), Nick Smith MP (Labour). For further information about the APPG, please visit its website here: https://appgticketabuse.wordpress.com/

6th May 2016

APPG supports Parliamentary Petition calling for enforcement of Consumer Rights Act

Ahead of the Government’s review into the Secondary Ticketing Market, which is expected to be published by the end of May, the APPG on Ticket Abuse has backed a Parliamentary Petition calling for the enforcement of the Consumer Rights Act with tougher sanctions on resale websites which flout the laws set out in the Act, along with calling for further transparency measures, including the identity of ticket resellers.

When the petition reaches 10,000 signatures, the Government must respond with a statement published on the petition’s website but when it reaches 100,000 signatures then the Petitions Committee must consider this petition to be debated by Members of Parliament.

You can sign the petition here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/128969

Sharon Hodgson MP, Co-Chair, commented:

“Since the passing of the Consumer Rights Act nearly a year ago, evidence has been brought to the APPG on Ticket Abuse’s attention that the statutory regulations are continuously being flouted by resale websites and there is still a lack of transparency when it comes to the information provided to fans.

“That is why it is important in the final weeks before Professor Waterson publishes his review into the secondary ticketing market and makes his recommendations to the Government, that he is given a full understanding of public opinion on this issue and takes head of it.

“That’s why I hope many people will rally behind this petition and sign it, allowing Parliament the chance to debate this issue again.”

Lord Moynihan, Co-Chair, said:

“The measures set out in the Consumer Rights Act were an important step forward to protect fans but since their implementation there are too many occasions where they are being flouted or ignored. It is time for Government and the Law Enforcement Officers to act. The interests of the fans must come first.”


29th October 2015

Secondary Ticketing Review

The Government have finally published details about the long-awaited review into the Secondary Ticketing Market, which was legislated for in the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

The Act, which became law in March, stated that a review into the Secondary Ticketing Market must be undertaken and report back within one year, however up until today no details about the make-up of the review panel, or the scope of what is under investigation has been forthcoming.

It has now been announced that the review will be led by Professor Michael Waterson, Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick, and the terms of reference can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/review-of-consumer-protection-measures-applying-to-ticket-resale-call-for-evidence.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse have been campaigning ever since the Act was passed to make sure the Government commits to undertaking this review, and today the co-Chair of the group, Sharon Hodgson MP, pressed the need for as many people and organisations as possible to respond to the call for evidence in order that the review is able to get to the bottom of the failures in this market.. This is particularly important as the Government consultation last until only 20th November.

Sharon commented:

“I am very happy to finally have some details about this crucial review. It is unfortunate that it has taken so long to set it up, and that the call for evidence is so disappointingly short, however I am pleased that the pressure exerted upon the Government by the APPG on Ticket Abuse and external bodies has led to the publication of these details today.

Our focus must now be on making sure Professor Waterson and his team have access to all of the facts, and an accurate summary of the market as it currently exists.

For too many genuine fans the scourge of ticket touts have left people either seriously out of pocket or unable to see the bands or events that they love. Within seconds of tickets going on sale they are snapped up and put on secondary sites at ridiculously inflated prices, and nobody can convince me that this is the outcome of a healthy market.

We need this review to unearth the worst excesses of this market and to make it clear where steps must be taken to address them, and I urge every single person who has been affected by these problems to respond to the call for evidence and get their voice heard. I am confident that any review that looks at the facts can only conclude that more has to be done to protect consumers and finally put fans first.”

Please submit your evidence and experiences to the review here: [please note this review has now closed] 


30 June 2015

APPG Re-Established in New Parliament

On 30 June the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse was re-established in the new Parliament, to continue it’s original purpose, working on behalf of genuine fans in making the secondary ticketing market more transparent.

At the meeting Lord Moynihan was elected as the new co-chair, after Mike Weatherley had stepped down from Parliament. Also, Kerry McCarthy MP was re-elected as a Vice Chair and Nick Smith MP and Stephen McPartland MP were elected as new Vice Chairs.


9 March 2015

Lords Amendments Accepted by the House of Commons

Today in the House of Commons Sharon Hodgson MP and Mike Weatherley MP welcomed the Lords amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill that will boost greater transparency in the secondary ticketing market, and will help make sure genuine fans are not ripped off and stopped from seeing the sports, shows or bands that they love.

The amendment, put forward in the House of Lords last month by the former Sports Minister Lord Moynihan, will mean that when tickets are re-sold the actual seat number must be divulged, as well as any restrictions on the ticket and its original face value. Alongside this, it will be the duty of secondary platforms to report criminal activity, and a review is to be set up to look into this issue in greater detail, with a report published to Parliament after 12 months.

Speaking after the debate Sharon Hodgson said:

‘This is an issue I have campaigned on for a very long time now, and today we finally saw the amendment accepted in the House of Commons. It may have taken longer than I had hoped, but the Government finally backed down from its total opposition and accepted these new measures that will do so much to clean up the secondary ticket market, and today certainly marks a real success in this fight.’

‘Now that this has been accepted the crucial next step is to conduct the review, which will hopefully highlight even more ways to protect fans and make the culture of exploitation a thing of the past.’

‘The review needs to have strong leadership in order to tackle the scope of the problems, but as long as whoever leads it has the best interests of fans as their key consideration then I am confident it will bring about even more ways to improve the secondary ticketing market in order that it works in the interests of fans, not touts.’


11 JANUARY 2015

LIVE EVENT INDUSTRY UNITES IN CALL TO PUT FANS FIRST

More than 85 individuals, companies and other organisations spanning the live events industry in the UK have given their backing to legislation aiming to bring transparency to the secondary ticketing market in an effort to curb rip-off ticket touts.

A letter calling on the Government to back a new law to increase the amount of information about individual tickets and their sellers that secondary sites would need to collect and publish was printed in the Independent on Sunday this weekend (Sunday 11 January), and attracted support from key organisations within the live event and creative industries.

The letter, organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ticket Abuse, criticised the Government for trying to block the amendment made to the Consumer Rights Bill in the House of Lords in November, and for planning to strip it back out of the Bill when it is debated in the House of Commons tomorrow (Monday 12 January).

The proposals, approved by 183 votes to 171 in the House of Lords, will mean that touts selling their tickets through major internet platforms like Seatwave and Viagogo will have to prominently disclose key facts to potential customers, including:

  • Their identity, particularly where they are selling tickets as a business;
  • The original face value of the tickets being sold;
  • The individual characteristics of the tickets being sold, such as the seat number or the booking reference, and;
  • Whether the terms and conditions on the ticket mean that it can be cancelled if the organisers find out it has been resold.

The move to clean up the market have enjoyed wide support. From the world of sport, the England and Wales Cricket Board, Lawn Tennis Association and Rugby Football Union all signed the letter, as well as the Sport and Recreation Alliance, which represents 320 National Governing Bodies and associations.

From the world of music, umbrella body UK Music, Association of Independent Festivals, promoter Harvey Goldsmith CBE, the Musicians’ Union and the Featured Artists Coalition, and the Music Managers Forum all signed, as well as a range of managers and agents representing major acts including Iron Maiden, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead and One Direction.

And from the world of theatre, the National Theatre, UK Theatre Association, Society of London Theatres and HQ Theatres all added their support.

Sharon Hodgson MP, Labour Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, said: “This letter shows the real consensus in the live event industry that action needs to be taken to better protect consumers from the worst effects of touting, as well as the real frustration that the Government refuse to take that action.

“Ministers need to take this opportunity to put fans first, and to finally clean up a murky market.”

Mike Weatherley MP, Conservative Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, said: “The secondary ticketing market is a cash cow for a select few and, by and large, bad for music fans. The procurement of tickets by resellers takes place on an industrial scale as soon as an event opens its box office, denying fans the opportunity to buy tickets at their face value.

“Those arguing against greater transparency are trying to shield from fans the source of the tickets or circumvent individual venues restrictions on reselling tickets. There is a large amount of criminal activity around fake tickets, which is fuelled by extortionate prices, that can leave fans massively disappointed and out of pocket. This has to stop.”

ENDS

Broadcast bids for Sharon Hodgson MP for Monday or beyond should be directed to Daniel Tye on Daniel.tye@parliament.uk, or 0207 219 5160.

Bids for Mike Weatherley MP should be directed to mike.weatherley.mp@parliament.uk, or 020 7219 7216.

NOTES

The letters read as follows:

As representatives from the live event industry, responsible for putting on shows ranging from international sporting fixtures and world class theatre to intimate gigs, we are committed to ensuring that event-goers have the best experience possible at a fair price.

The way that the secondary ticketing market is allowed to operate at present can seriously undermine that effort.

It’s almost 3 years since Channel 4’s Dispatches: The Great Ticket Scandal exposed how secondary platforms court major ticket touts and take allocations directly from promoters to sell on above face value to unsuspecting consumers.

And it’s almost 2 years since Operation Podium, the Police unit set up to tackle Olympics-related crime, produced a report calling for legislation to tackle “unscrupulous practices, a lack of transparency and fraud” within the secondary market.

Tomorrow, the House of Commons has the chance to pass that legislation.

Clause 33 of the Consumer Rights Bill would give consumers looking for tickets basic information which the secondary platforms have been so keen to hide: who they’re buying from, the face value of the ticket, the seat number and, importantly, whether that ticket is being sold in contravention of its terms and conditions.

Sadly, the Government tried to block this Clause in the Lords, and want to strip it out of the Bill in the Commons tomorrow.

If the secondary platforms have nothing to fear from transparency, they have nothing to fear from these simple provisions.

It’s high time the Government stopped sticking up for them, and decided to put fans first.

Signed:


20 NOVEMBER 2014

PEERS PUT FANS FIRST

The House of Lords has handed a big boost to music, sport and comedy fans as a cross-party coalition of Peers yesterday (Thursday 19 November) passed an amendment to curb the actions of ticket touts.

In a defeat for the Government, Peers forced through a new clause to the Consumer Rights Bill to increase transparency in the event ticket resale market.

The new provisions, passed by 183 votes to 171, will mean that touts selling their tickets through major internet platforms like Seatwave and Viagogo will have to prominently disclose key facts to potential customers, including:

  • Their identity, particularly where they are selling tickets as a business;
  • The original face value of the tickets being sold;
  • The individual characteristics of the tickets being sold, such as the seat number or the booking reference, and;
  • Whether the terms and conditions on the ticket mean that it can be cancelled if the organisers find out it has been resold.

It is hoped that the information being made public will enable event holders to identify the largest ticket touts and prevent them from buying up large quantities of tickets to re-sell, leaving ordinary fans with a better chance of getting tickets at face value instead of being forced to pay inflated amounts on the secondary market.

The latest high-profile tour to be affected is that of Fleetwood Mac, with thousands of tickets being resold on the secondary market at way above face value within minutes of the tour selling out. Similarly, next year’s Rugby World Cup has been plagued by touts reselling tickets to England games.

The amendment follows a similar attempt in the Commons earlier in the year. Both amendments were informed by a report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, which held an inquiry at the beginning of the year into the secondary ticketing market.

Liberal Democrat Peer and signatory to the New Clause, Lord Tim Clement-Jones, said: “This is a victory both for the ticket-buying public and for the hugely important live event industry. The Police and the entertainment industry have been clear that action needs to be taken on ticket touts to ensure that genuine fans can get access to gigs, shows and games without having to pay extortionate prices, and these new measures would do exactly that.”

Labour Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, Sharon Hodgson MP, said: “Ticket touts have operated with impunity for far too long. In no other market would we put up with not knowing who we were buying from or whether they even had permission to sell us a product. This amendment is a significant step towards tackling the scourge of touts and putting fans first, and I hope that the Government now listens to the will of Parliament.”

Conservative Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, Mike Weatherley MP, said: “It’s been clear for a long time that this market is not working in the interest of genuine fans or the people who put in all the hard work and investment to put on live events. Anyone operating honestly has nothing to fear from these changes, but they will make a big difference for ordinary fans. It’s imperative that the Government doesn’t try to reverse this amendment when the Bill comes back to the Commons.”

ENDS

Notes

The New Clause to the Consumer Rights Bill which was approved was as follows:

After Clause 32

LORD MOYNIHAN

BARONESS HEYHOE FLINT

LORD CLEMENT-JONES

LORD STEVENSON OF BALMACARA

13

Insert the following new Clause—

“Secondary ticketing platforms: seller profiles and ticket information

(1)     Secondary ticketing operators must, on the website on which tickets are
offered for sale or transfer, provide information concerning the sellers of
tickets so that sellers may be easily identified.

(2)     Information provided by virtue of subsection (1) must include, but is not
limited to—

(a)   the name of the seller;

(b)   if the seller is an undertaking, its registered number, jurisdiction of
registration, registered office address, and if registered outside the
United Kingdom, a valid address for service; and

(c)   the VAT registration number of the seller, if applicable.

(3)     Information provided under subsection (1) must be—

(a)   accurate; and

(b)   prominently displayed before a buyer is able to complete the
purchase of the ticket.

(4)     Secondary ticketing operators must disclose clearly and prominently
where the seller of a ticket is—

(a)   the secondary ticketing platform or a subsidiary undertaking or
parent undertaking of the secondary ticketing platform;

(b)   a person or persons employed or engaged by the secondary
ticketing platform;

(c)   other persons connected to employees, directors or shareholders of
the secondary ticketing platform, or any of its subsidiary
undertakings or parent undertakings;

(d)   the event organiser or an agent acting on its behalf;

(e)   any other party connected to the organisation of the event.

(5)     Where a ticket is offered for sale or transfer through a secondary ticketing
platform—

(a)   the seller must provide all relevant information about the ticket;

(b)   the secondary ticketing operator must publish all relevant
information about a ticket in a prominent and clear manner; and

(c)   the secondary ticket operator must immediately remove the ticket
from sale when it is informed by the event organiser that the
information provided is inaccurate or incomplete.

(6)     Information to be provided by the seller and published by the secondary
ticketing operator for the purposes of subsection (1) must include, without
limitation—

(a)   the face value of the ticket;

(b)   any age or other restrictions on the user of the ticket;

(c)   the designated location of the ticket including the stand, the block,
the row and the seat number of the ticket, where applicable; and

(d)   the ticket booking identification or reference number.

(7)     Where tickets are being resold in contravention of the terms and conditions
agreed to by the original purchaser, this must be stated prominently by the
secondary ticketing platform at every stage of the purchasing process.

(8)     Information provided by virtue of this section must be—

(a)   accurate; and

(b)   prominently displayed before a buyer is able to complete the
purchase of that ticket.

(9)     For the purposes of this section—

“secondary ticketing platform” means an internet-based facility for
the resale of tickets to events in the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland, regardless of the jurisdiction in which
the owner of the service is registered;

“secondary ticketing operator” means, in relation to a secondary
ticketing platform, the person (whether incorporated or not)
operating that secondary ticketing platform;

“ticket” means anything which purports to be a ticket, including any
item, tangible or intangible, which grants the holder the right to
entry to an event;

“event” means any sporting, music or cultural activity taking place at
a specified time and place for which tickets are issued and required
for entry or attendance;

“event organiser” means the person responsible for organising and
holding an event and receiving the revenue from the event;

the term “undertaking” has the meanings given in section 1161 of the
Companies Act 2006 (meaning of “undertaking” and related
expressions);

the terms “subsidiary undertaking” and “parent undertaking” have
the meanings given in section 1162 of the Companies Act 2006
(parent and subsidiary undertakings);

the term “person” refers to a natural person or a body corporate.

(10)     This section will come into force no later than six months after this Act is
passed.”

The debate can be read in full here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldhansrd/text/141119-0001.htm#14111974000557

Operation Podium, the Metropolitan Police Service unit set up to tackle Olympics-related crime, including ticket touting and forgery, produced a final report on the subject of ticket crime in February 2013, which:

  • Found that: “due to the surreptitious way that large numbers of ‘primary’ tickets are diverted straight onto secondary ticket websites, members of the public have little choice but to try to source tickets on the secondary ticket market.”
  • Concluded that: “the lack of legislation outlawing the unauthorised resale of tickets and the absence of regulation of the primary and secondary ticket market encourages unscrupulous practices, a lack of transparency and fraud.”
  • Recommended that: “consideration must be given to introducing legislation to govern the unauthorised sale of event tickets. The lack of legislation in this area enables fraud and places the public at risk of economic crime” and “the primary and secondary ticket market require regulation to ensure transparency, allowing consumers to understand who they are buying from and affording them better protection from ticket crime.

WEDNESDAY 14 MAY 2014

MINISTERS MOVE ON TICKET TRANSPARENCY

Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse have hailed limited progress in making the secondary ticketing market more transparent, but warned that Government concessions don’t go far enough to protect consumers.

Following on from their report on the secondary market released last month, members of the APPG tabled a series of New Clauses to the Consumer Rights Bill, debated in Parliament this week (13 May), which would have required secondary ticketing platforms to:

  • Be transparent about who is selling the ticket, and particularly where the seller is actually the event-holder or the secondary ticketing platform themselves;
  • Be transparent about the characteristics of the ticket, and particularly the seat or ticket number and the face value, and;
  • Ensure that fans aren’t left out of pocket for travel and accommodation expenses where the ticket they have bought turns out to be fake or has been cancelled.

Responding to the debate on the proposals, Consumer Affairs Minister Jenny Willott MP informed MPs that the Government had issued guidance to secondary ticketing websites making clear that sellers would be required to provide seat numbers, and in some cases the face value of the ticket, from now on.

The Co-Chairs of the APPG have now written to the main secondary ticketing platforms to press them to comply with the new conditions, which come into effect on 13th June.

Conservative Co-Chair of the APPG Mike Weatherley said: “This is the first concession from the Government that there is a real problem with transparency in the secondary market, and the publication of this guidance represents a welcome, although limited, step forward. Secondary ticketing websites now have a month to ensure that they comply with these new responsibilities, and I hope they accept the need to do so.

“However, these small changes still don’t go far enough to ensure that consumers have all the relevant information they need to make a buying decision. In particular, consumers still won’t know who they’re actually buying a ticket from, which we wouldn’t stand for in any other marketplace.”

In addition to the concession, the MPs are continuing to call for further measures from the Government on transparency and consumer protection, and have scheduled meetings with the new Culture Secretary Sajid Javid and Home Office Minister Karen Bradley to press the need for further changes to how the secondary market is regulated and policed.

Labour Co-Chair of the APPG Sharon Hodgson said: “We welcome any movement from Ministers on this issue, and over the next few weeks we will be meeting with Ministers from both the DCMS and the Home Office to discuss the wider set of recommendations in our report.

“However, we still believe that the Consumer Rights Bill is the ideal vehicle through which to extend transparency and recourse in the secondary market, to ensure that it works in the interests of consumers and those whose talent and investment create the demand for tickets in the first place. We will therefore continue to press the Government to act to put fans first.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

The debate on ticket touting, amongst other issues, can be read in full here.

The guidance published by the Government states:

I am a trader selling tickets online, what do I need to do?

17. Schedule 2 of the Regulations lists the information you must provide to the consumer. Information on the main characteristics of the tickets and their total price (including delivery costs and other charges) must be given to the consumer in a clear and comprehensible way before the consumer purchases the ticket. Main characteristics include (if known to you) the date and time of the event and the content of the event (eg who is performing). For a ticket associated with a particular reserved seat (eg Seat 1, Row A) the seat number is a main characteristic that you should give the consumer. Depending on the circumstances, the face value of a ticket you are reselling may also be a main characteristic you should give. Where the ticket is for a specific date cancellation rights will not apply. You must also make sure you comply with other aspects of these regulations such as ensuring that additional payments are not selected automatically for the buyer and that where phone helplines are offered for post-contract queries, the caller does not have to pay more than the basic rate (see section J).

Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation And Additional Charges) Regulations Implementing Guidance December 2013 (amended 12 May 2014): https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/310044/bis-13-1368-consumer-contracts-information-cancellation-and-additional-payments-regulations-guidance.pdf

The text of the letter sent by the APPG’s Co-Chairs is as follows:

Thank you again for your participation in the evidence-gathering process for the All-Party Parliamentary Group’s report on the secondary ticketing market.

As you may be aware, in response to amendments tabled during the Report Stage of the Consumer Rights Bill by the APPG, as well as by the Official Opposition, the Government has now published updated guidance to the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation And Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, which come into force on 13 June, making clear that those selling tickets online must provide the seat numbers (where applicable) and the face value of the tickets they are selling.

We would therefore be grateful for details of the front-end and process changes you will be making to your marketplace to ensure that they, and those selling tickets through them, comply with these regulations, as well as when you expect those changes to be made.

Further, we would of course welcome constructive responses to the recommendations made within our recent report, which you have all received copies of, as well as the amendments we tabled to the Consumer Rights Bill this week.

Yours sincerely,

Sharon Hodgson MP and Mike Weatherley MP


FRIDAY 25 APRIL 2014

MPS BID TO CURB TICKET ‘RIP-OFF’S

A cross-party group of MPs has called for greater protection for consumers buying second-hand tickets for cultural and sporting events.

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

The MPs now plan to table amendments to the Consumer Rights Bill, which is due to be debated in the Commons in May, to regulate a market estimated to be worth £1bn a year in the UK, but which has also been linked with organised criminal networks by the Metropolitan Police.

The fresh calls for the Government to step in to curb touting follow hot on the heels of a stream of reports covering the touting of tickets to Kate Bush’s comeback shows.

Despite limiting purchasers to 4 tickets and requiring the credit card holder to be present when at the event, scores of tickets have found their way onto the secondary market, where they are being sold for a minimum of £600 each – more than 12 times the face value of the lowest-priced tickets.

The MPs also pointed to an increasing problem with fraudulent or cancelled tickets being sold through apparently legitimate websites, leaving fans stranded at venues. 600 fans were recently turned away from the o2 Arena in London after buying invalid tickets to see American rap star Drake through the most famous resale websites.

The key recommendations outlined 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.
  • A further requirement for resale websites to declare where tickets have been given directly to them from an event-organiser, as well as to investigate the provenance of tickets where one individual tries to sell more than 20 for one show.
  • 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.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

The report from the APPG on Ticket Abuse, and more information about the Group, can be found at www.putfansfirst.co.uk

Operation Podium, the Metropolitan Police Service unit set up to tackle Olympics-related crime, including ticket touting and forgery, produced a final report on the subject of ticket crime in February 2013, which:

  • Found that: “due to the surreptitious way that large numbers of ‘primary’ tickets are diverted straight onto secondary ticket websites, members of the public have little choice but to try to source tickets on the secondary ticket market.”
  • Concluded that: “the lack of legislation outlawing the unauthorised resale of tickets and the absence of regulation of the primary and secondary ticket market encourages unscrupulous practices, a lack of transparency and fraud.”
  • Recommended that: “consideration must be given to introducing legislation to govern the unauthorised sale of event tickets. The lack of legislation in this area enables fraud and places the public at risk of economic crime” and “the primary and secondary ticket market require regulation to ensure transparency, allowing consumers to understand who they are buying from and affording them better protection from ticket crime.

DECEMBER 2013

MPS SET UP TICKETING ABUSE ALL PARTY GROUP

A new cross-party group of MPs has been established to examine the growing problem of ticket touting.

The All Party Parliamentary Group, which will be led by long-time campaigners Sharon Hodgson and Mike Weatherley, will be investigating the scale of, and problems caused by, the burgeoning secondary ticketing market, where tickets for major events are often sold for many times their face value.

The most recent controversy surrounding the activities of modern touts arose when tickets for the Monty Python comeback tour were snapped up in less than a minute, with vast quantities appearing on secondary websites almost immediately at huge mark-ups.

The lowest priced tickets for the series of shows at the o2 Arena in London were snapped up for £25, but are now being resold on the secondary market for at least 3 times that price, while tickets for the front blocks are going for more than £1,000.

The MPs will be looking at every aspect of the issue – from Consumer Rights Groups, Performers, Managers, Promoters to the Secondary Ticketing organisations themselves, as well as solution providers using technology and other methods.

In addition, the APPG will be looking at potential legislation, and seeking to build support for amendments to Bills such as the forthcoming Consumer Rights Bill to tip the balance back in favour of music, theatre and sports fans.

The fresh push builds on a report from the Metropolitan Police earlier in the year, which called for new laws to protect consumers from ticket crime. It is also supported by an ever growing number of high profile acts and promoters.

Sharon Hodgson MP said: “The Monty Python tour is just the latest example of how fans are being priced out of events as industrial-scale touts cash in on the hard work of others.

“This investigation will hopefully shed some light on a very murky industry, which even the Police have called for to be cleaned up.”

Mike Weatherley MP said: “I am concerned about a purchasers intention when buying a ticket – is it to go to a performance or is it to solely to sell for their own profit – against the wishes of the performer. We are not looking at the ‘good old days’ when a few touts helped balance a free market – we need to acknowledge this is ticket profiteering on an industrial scale against the interests of the industry, consumers and the Treasury ie against the interests of all of us.

“Our investigation will seek to get to the bottom of the problem across all forms of entertainment, and put forward sensible ideas to benefit both rights holders and consumers.”

ENDS

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