Sunderland MP Sharon Hodgson welcomes crackdown on ticket touting sites

MP Sharon Hodgson is a long-standing campaigner against ticket touting.
MP Sharon Hodgson is a long-standing campaigner against ticket touting.
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Campaigning Sunderland MP Sharon Hodgson has welcomed an industry watchdog's clampdown on the sale of event tickets at inflated prices.

The MP for Washington and Sunderland West is co-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on ticket abuse.

She has been a long-time campaigner for a crackdown on the sale of tickets for gigs, shows and sporting events at well over face value.

Today, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it will take enforcement action against secondary ticketing websites suspected of breaking consumer protection law.

After a thorough investigation into the sector, the CMA has identified widespread concerns about the information people are given, and gathered evidence which it considers reveal breaches of the law.

It is raising its concerns with a number of these websites and will be requiring them to take action where necessary.

Many seemingly legitimate firms sell tickets for shows, gigs and sporting events at vastly inflated prices.

Many seemingly legitimate firms sell tickets for shows, gigs and sporting events at vastly inflated prices.

Mrs Hodgson said: "It is welcome news that the CMA are now considering enforcement action against the resale platforms, who we know have repeatedly flouted the law of the land, especially after the many years of MPs and campaigners saying just that.

"What is incredibly interesting from this announcement is the fact that the CMA have widened the scope of their investigations, from their original terms after they have seen just how broken this market is and the further action needed to fix it.

"This is positive news from an agency which is ultimately instructed to protect consumers from companies disregarding their rights and will be an important step in the right direction to finally put fans first in this market, once and for all."

More on this subject: Iron Maiden aim to beat ticket touts as they return to North East

Rockers Iron Maiden are one of the artists who have taken steps to combat ticket touting. Pic: Carl Chambers.

Rockers Iron Maiden are one of the artists who have taken steps to combat ticket touting. Pic: Carl Chambers.

The CMA said that while it notes some sites have already made changes, it wants to ensure all sites comply with the law and that their customers are better informed about the tickets they are buying:

:: it must be clear if there are restrictions on using a re-sold ticket that could result in buyers being denied access to an event;

:: people should know whom they are buying from – for example if the seller is a business and/or an event organiser – and can benefit from their legal rights;

:: and customers need to be told exactly where in a venue they will be seated.

The CMA has also broadened the scope of its original investigation to include a number of additional issues, prompted by new information gathered in the course of its work, specifically:

:: pressure selling – whether claims made about the availability and popularity of tickets create a misleading impression or rush customers into making a buying decision;

:: difficulties for customers in getting their money back under a website’s guarantee;

:: speculative selling – where businesses advertise tickets for sale that they do not yet own and therefore may not be able to supply;

:: concerns about whether the organisers of some sporting events have sold tickets as a primary seller directly through a secondary ticket website, without making it clear to consumers.

CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: "Secondary ticketing websites can offer an important service – by allowing people the chance to buy tickets at the last minute or giving them a chance to re-sell tickets they can no longer use.

"But our investigation has identified concerns that the law protecting consumers is being broken.

"Thousands of people use these sites and they have a right to know if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door, who they’ve bought their ticket from, or exactly what seat at the venue they’re getting for their money.

"We are putting our concerns to these websites and will be requiring the changes necessary to tackle them.

"We will use the full range of our powers to get the right outcome for these sites’ customers – including taking action through the courts if needed."