‘Watchdog’ Barks At Ticketmaster

BBC consumer affairs programme “Watchdog” claims tickets sold by Ticketmaster are immediately being resold on its secondary site at vastly inflated prices.

Researchers for the programme say they spent an hour trying to buy James Blunt tickets on the morning they went on sale, while the Ticketmaster site claimed none was available.

However, within 30 minutes tickets for the show were being advertised on Getmein.com, the company’s resale site, for five times their face value.

The programme also spoke to a Rod Stewart fan who tried to buy a ticket for Stewart’s London O2 show as soon as it went on sale. She found that tickets sold out in minutes. After 20 minutes, she began checking Getmein and other secondary sites and found tickets priced at three and four times face value.

Ticketmaster told “Watchdog” that Getmein is a marketplace where fans can buy tickets at a fair price without the hassle of dealing with touts, although the programme suggested the company isn’t doing enough to stop its tickets being bought with the sole purpose of being immediately resold for a huge profit.

“Watchdog” was also critical of Getmein for allowing the trade of tickets for last month’s Help For Heroes charity show at Twickenham Park, although promoter Live Nation had put a condition on the ticket saying that it couldn’t be re-sold for profit.

Live Nation completed its merger with Ticketmaster early this year. Both parties have typically despised secondary market re-selling, but Ticketmaster has demonstrated it can also play that game, and now powers TicketsNow and Ticketweb in the U.S. along with Getmein.

Ticketmaster said Getmein originally intended not to sell Help For Heroes tickets, but it did a U-turn when it saw other secondary sites offering them.

TM also insisted it never diverts tickets to Getmein to sell at higher prices, as it was found to have done last year when it used “deceptive bait-and-switch tactics” to steer buyers of Bruce Springsteen tickets to its TicketsNow resale site in the U.S.

TM did admit it knowingly allows the resale of tickets that have been bought by people such as fan club members who’ve benefited from buying them through special pre-sale offers.

Dave Chumbley of Primary Talent International, agent for Kylie Minogue, told BBC that he was not happy that 527 tickets for her upcoming tour were being offered on Getmein.com before they went on sale to the public.

He said the root of the problem is the UK government’s failure to make the reselling of tickets illegal.

“My view is, in a perfect world, I would prefer it if tickets could not be resold in the way they are allowed to now,” Chumbley said.
Ticketmaster declined to comment beyond the responses it made during the “Watchdog” programme.