Today, the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) have announced it will be taking enforcement action against secondary ticketing websites suspected of breaking consumer protection law.

This follows a thorough investigation into the sector – to which FanFair Alliance has submitted significant evidence – that has identified widespread concerns about the information would-be ticket buyers are given, as well as evidence that the CMA considers reveal breaches of the law.

The CMA is raising its concerns with a number of these websites and will be requiring them to take action where necessary.

Significantly, and alongside additional and ongoing actions from the Advertising Standards Authority and National Trading Standards, the CMA has also broadened the scope of its original investigation to include a number of additional issues, prompted by new information gathered in the course of its work, specifically:

  • pressure selling – whether claims made about the availability and popularity of tickets create a misleading impression or rush customers into making a buying decision;
  • difficulties for customers in getting their money back under a website’s guarantee;
  • speculative selling – where businesses advertise tickets for sale that they do not yet own and therefore may not be able to supply; and
  • concerns about whether the organisers of some sporting events have sold tickets as a primary seller directly through a secondary ticket website, without making this clear to consumers.

The CMA has said it will gather and assess evidence on these additional issues before deciding on whether further enforcement action is required.

The CMA will also be engaging with event organisers to help them to avoid being challenged for using unfair terms to restrict the resale of their tickets. The CMA has today proposed a number of steps that the industry could take in order to stop consumers losing out. The CMA is inviting feedback from the industry on this proposed approach.

The full announcement can be accessed here.

Reacting to the news, FanFair Alliance commented:

“Today’s CMA announcement that they will take enforcement action against secondary ticketing sites justifies everything FanFair Alliance supporters have campaigned for.  

“Alongside work from the Advertising Standards Authority and National Trading Standards, we are especially pleased the CMA will expand the scope of their investigation. Beyond suspected breaches of consumer protection law, we believe the largest ticket resale platforms are riddled with bad practice, including speculative ticket listings, pressure selling and collusion with large-scale ticket touts. 

“It is has taken far too long to get here, but a Sword of Damocles now hangs over the entire secondary market. If they fail to deliver root-and-branch reforms, we expect the largest resale platforms to face significant consequences.”