No Tightening Of UK Scalping Laws

A bid to tighten the laws on ticket resales in the UK has been defeated in the House Of Commons, as MPs voted 289 to 204 against an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill. 

Photo: AP Photo

Coalition MPs voted down the new regulations, which the All Party Parliamentary Group had tacked on to the Consumer Rights Bill in the House Of Lords at the end of November.

The new regs would have forced secondary ticket sellers on such sites as Viagogo, Seatwave, StubHub and Ticketmaster’s Get Me In to reveal the identity and face value of all tickets, as well as give details like seat numbers and booking references.

Resellers would also have been required to state whether the terms and conditions gave promoters the right to block entry if they discovered the ticket was resold.

The government had decided the amendment would “overburden individual fans with red tape.”

Resellers including Viagogo and Get Me In were quick to support the results.

“We are delighted that the government has maintained its position to support the rights of consumers by voting against a misguided and unworkable proposal,” said Ticketmaster resale managing director Christoph Homann. “We have consumer protection law, competition law and criminal law already safeguarding consumers in the UK and there is no evidence to support extra regulation for the secondary ticketing market would be effective.”

A Viagogo spokesman told Pollstar the company was “pleased that common sense has prevailed and people’s right to resell their own property in a free market has been protected.”

The nearly three-hour debate was screened live as part of the BBC’s parliamentary coverage. The move to clean up the market had the support of such organizations as the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Lawn Tennis Association, the Rugby Football Union, plus UK Music, the Association of Independent Festivals, the Musicians’ Union, the Featured Artists Coalition, and the Music Managers’ Forum.

On the day before the vote, 80 leading representatives from the worlds of music, sport and theatre wrote an open letter to The Independent on Sunday, supporting the amendment and calling on the government to crack down the “unscrupulous” practices of the secondary ticketing business. Sharon Hodgson, the Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West who led the debate for the APPG, couldn’t be reached for comment at press time.