Ticket websites facing legal action and fines after flouting laws to stop users getting ripped off
- The Competition & Markets Authority is taking action against misleading sites
- Websites are hoovering up tickets en masse and re-selling at extortionate prices
- They are also letting people book events without knowing where there seats are
- Those who do so are breaking UK consumer law and will face fines or worse ?
Ticket websites face legal action and fines for flouting laws to protect users against scams and rip-offs.
The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) is taking enforcement action against unnamed websites for misleading the public.
It says the ticketing websites that, on the face of it, allow ordinary people to sell on tickets are suspected of breaking consumer protection law.
The move from the CMA comes amid mounting anger from artists, including Ed Sheeran, Adele, Mumford And Sons, and Radiohead, who have encouraged music lovers to stop using ticket websites such as Viagogo, Get Me In!, Stubhub and Seatwave.
There is a concern that organised online touts are hoovering up sought-after tickets and then selling them on at a profit without complying with the law.
Concerns that organised online touts are hoovering up sought-after tickets and then selling them on at a profit without complying with the law have lead to a crackdown by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA)
Many concert promoters and sporting organisations sell tickets on the basis they cannot be re-sold through unofficial channels at a profit.
However, these tickets are routinely being sold through the secondary ticket websites without the sellers making it clear that purchasers may be denied entry.
Just this tactic was widely used during the last Rugby World Cup held in England in 2015 and is still going on with concerts and other events today.
Tickets are being sold on some websites without giving clear information on where the seats are, which is against the law.
And some businesses and event organisers – rather than ordinary members of the public - are using the sites to sell tickets without spelling this out.
The CMA says there is evidence of pressure selling, where tickets are pushed on the back of misleading claims that they are in short supply.
People have had difficulty getting their money back under the guarantees offered by the websites.
Tickets were acquired by touts and resold for huge profits during the England Rugby World Cup in 2015. Pictured: crowds at Twickenham stadium?
The CMA said there is even evidence of businesses advertising tickets for sale that they do not yet own and may not be able to supply.
CMA chief executive, Andrea Coscelli, (correct) 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.'
He added: '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.'
The move from the CMA comes amid mounting anger from artists, including Ed Sheeran (pictured), Adele, Mumford And Sons, and Radiohead, who have encouraged music lovers to stop using ticket websites such as Viagogo, Get Me In!, Stubhub and Seatwave
The official watchdog is also working with the Advertising Standards Authority, which is investigating whether the websites have broken advertising rules, and trading standards.
The CMA said that during the course of its investigation some secondary ticketing websites have already made changes to their practices to deal with its concerns.
Managing Director of Home Products and Services at consumer group Which?, Alex Neill, said: 'With people increasingly finding that they have to buy tickets through secondary sites, it's right that the competition authorities are taking action against companies that aren't playing by the rules.
'Our research has found many websites breaking consumer law by not listing the face value of, or restrictions on, tickets as well as key information, such as block, row and seat numbers.
'This action must now lead to much greater transparency, so that consumers have a better chance of getting the best tickets for popular events.'?
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