Published on August 11th, 2016 | by Amber Healy1
Brits Battle for Better Ticketing Practices
It’s not just music fans and concertgoers in North America looking to save themselves from unfair ticketing practices this summer.
Launched a few weeks ago, the FanFair Alliance seeks to eliminate unethical ticket reselling practices in the UK. The organization, founded by managers for bands including Arctic Monkeys and One Direction among others, urged parliamentarians to enact legislation to ensure every ticket sold is legal and legitimate.
The FanFair Alliance “is designed to unite fans, artists and music business against online touts who have been accused of systematically exploiting gig goers, breaching UK laws and diverting revenues from the creative economy,” explains the Guardian.
“Ticket touting” is British for reselling, it turns out.
Earlier this year, music industry officials asked the UK government to make reselling tickets a criminal offense for concerts, plays and sporting events. This action was prompted by a review of the secondary market, dominated in the UK by Seatwave, Viagogo, Get Me In and (all together now) StubHub, the Guardian reports.
The review looked at “whether consumers are sufficiently protected by legislation introduced last year,” after claims were made that those sites, among others, were ignoring laws when reselling tickets, the paper says.
Much like the sale of Tragically Hip ticket–gone in seconds only to pop up instantly on StubHub or others sites at massively inflated prices–seats to an Adele show in London were being sold on the secondary market for £24,000 apiece. Adele and other performers, including Florence + The Machine, lent their support to a petition in February looking to outlaw these practices. Some in the UK have suggested a ceiling on tickets sold on the secondary market not to exceed 10% of face value.
Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on ticket abuse, has been a longtime supporter of such ideas, first suggesting a price cap in 2011. She’s also a supporter of the FanFair Alliance.
“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, thought ensuring legislation is properly implemented and has the teeth to protect fans from the abuses seen in the secondary market,” Hodgson said after the alliance was announced. “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.”
Hodgson and other supporters of the FanFair Alliance are calling for the government to adopt four steps to not only protect consumers but cut off the resellers’ supply of tickets: enforcement of existing legislation; transparency, so fans know exactly who they’re buying tickets from; responsibility, calling on resellers to be responsible businesses and protectors of the consumer; and supply, to ensure tickets are bought by people, not bots.