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Government Calls For Tougher Ticket Touting Laws

Ticket Touting

Many people in the United Kingdom are no stranger to ticket touts who scam unsuspecting victims out of hundreds, and in more severe cases, thousands of pounds. In April this year, the new Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid, lavished ticket touts as being “classic entrepreneurs” who should be allowed to operate without any interference. This comment has angered many people who attend festivals, concerts, sports matches and even MPs.

In May, the ‘All-Party Parliamentary Group’ (APPG) published its findings on ticket abuse and has issued recommendations following its recent findings. The APPG did not call for an outright ban on secondary ticket sales, but instead they want to focus on greater transparency within the market and put measures in place that protect fans from these fraudulent sales.

In 2013, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) reported that these unsuspecting consumers handed over a total of £3.7m to fraudsters, in which, among the 4,555 reported incidents, 22 of victims lost up to £10,000 or more. These cases of fraud increased during the music festival season and were typically carried out online.

With these fraudulent schemes set to be on the rise in 2014, the APPG proposes that victims of ticket scams should be guaranteed compensation, and that websites such as ‘Seatwave’ and ‘Viagogo’ should be legally required to be more transparent in their sale methods. Mike Weatherley, the Prime Minister’s Intellectual Property Advisor and Co-Chair has said that: “The whole industry needs to be much more open. Consumers deserve to know which tickets they’re buying and who they’re buying them from.” He went on to say that it is not a case that the secondary market should be removed, “but it needs to work in the favour of the consumer and the creative sector, not a few faceless individuals getting rich off the hard work, investment and talent of others.”

Amendments to the ‘Consumer Rights Bill’, tabled by the APPG are due to be debated in the House Of Commons next month, and they are set to push for obligatory regulations that ticket resale sites should follow. These transparency measures include a legal requirement for websites to publish full information about all the tickets listed through them, with this information detailing the seller themselves. The APPG will also put forward that resale websites should clearly declare when certain tickets have been directly given to them from an event organiser, alongside investigating individuals who try to sell 20 or more tickets for a single show.

Hopefully these measures will see the gradual decline of ticket touts and will allow the deserving fans to visit the concerts and festivals they so desire, without the fear of getting scammed.

Harnek Mudhar

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