Switzerland-based ticket re-seller Viagogo failed to send a representative to a parliamentary hearing in London addressing secondary ticket March 21.
Other witnesses included Rob Wilmshurst (See Tickets), Keith Kenny (Sales and Ticketing Director for “Hamilton,” Cameron Mackintosh), Ed Sheeran manager Stuart Camp, Stuart Galbraith (Kilimanjaro Live), Claire Turnham, (“Victim of Viagogo” group) and Mark McGivern (Daily Record), who presented the politicians with more insights into the practice of secondary ticketing.
The UK parliament is reviewing the secondary ticketing situation in the country. In theory, the UK’s Consumer Rights Acts should protect ticket buyers against touts, but it is rarely enforced.
The March 21 oral evidence session followed a similar session in November 2016.
Since then, the government’s Competition and Markets Authority launched an investigation into the secondary market. Recently, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced a crackdown on bots, threatening touts using such technology with unlimited fines.
Wilmshurst called the bots discussion somewhat of a “red herring,” as it wasn’t the main problem, at least not in the UK.
A day before the hearing, the UK’s FanFair Alliance published a guide to help fans beat touts.
It includes 10 tips to avoid being ripped off when buying tickets online, and can be downloaded for free. Artists including Ed Sheeran, Mumford & Sons, Amy Macdonald, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, Imogen Heap, Royal Blood, Mark Knopfler, Wolf Alice and You Me At Six have endorsed the guide.
Ed Sheeran said in a statement, “It’s important to get educated about ticket touts. Read the advice in the FanFair Alliance guide – find out who the authorized ticket sellers are, avoid the secondary sites … and if you’ve got to sell a ticket, sell if for face value.”
Amy Macdonald added that Twickets is one site allowing for ticket resale at face value. Macdonald requires fans coming to her upcoming UK tour to enter their names on their tickets “in an attempt to make sure the tickets go to real fans and not touting services.”
Ed O’Brien added: “The sheer scale of online ticket touting is a major problem for the live music business: artists know it, and audiences at the sharp end certainly do. I fully support the FanFair Alliance campaign to raise awareness around so-called secondary ticketing and to help stop people getting ripped off.”
Mark Knopfler said “nobody wants the front ten rows of their event to be full of super rich consumers who may or may not actually be into the music as opposed to just attending the event.”