Today marked another step forward in FanFair Alliance’s campaign against industrial-scale online ticket touting, with the passing of the Digital Economy Act. 

This brings into law specific measures aimed at curbing the activities of hardcore ticket touts on secondary resale platforms such as Get Me In!, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo:

– To criminalise the misuse of an “electronic communications network” or “electronic communications service” to bulk-buy tickets   

– And to expand the Consumer Rights Act 2015, so ticket resale platforms must provide a “unique ticket number that may help the buyer to identify the seat or standing area or its location”.

Culture Minister, Matthew Hancock MP, has also stated unequivocally in Parliament that the Consumer Rights Act requires secondary sellers to provide information on ticket restrictions on resale.

Going forward, these changes should greatly increase transparency when tickets are bought and sold online, with resale platforms now having to provide buyers with information on:

– the original face value of a ticket

– details of seat and row number, if it is a seated ticket

– information about any restrictions which limit the use of the ticket – including any resale restrictions

– a unique ticket number

In addition to this, Government has already committed previously to:

– accepting in full the recommendations made in the Waterson Review of secondary ticketing

– funding for National Trading Standards to undertake enforcement action

Meanwhile, a Competition and Markets Authority enforcement investigation into suspected breaches of consumer protection law in the online secondary ticketing market remains ongoing. 

However, all these actions will be for nothing if UK law is not enforced, and professional ticket touts are allowed to continue operating with impunity.

In response to today’s news, FanFair Alliance commented: 

On top of Government measures to criminalise the bulk-buying of tickets, this relatively minor amendment to the Consumer Rights Act, for a ‘unique ticket number’ to be displayed when a ticket is listed for resale, should greatly increase transparency in the so-called secondary ticketing market. If enforced, it will give users some assurances that the ticket they are buying actually exists, as well as disrupting the practices of hardcore touts that thrive on sites like Viagogo, StubHub, Get Me In! and Seatwave. 

FanFair Alliance would like to thank everyone who has supported us in campaigning for these changes – and particularly Nigel Adams MP, Sharon Hodgson MP, Lord Moynihan, Baroness Hayter, Lord Clement-Jones, Lord Stevenson, the late Baroness Heyhoe-Flint, and members of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. 

We were also heartened that the Culture Minister has clarified unequivocally that secondary platforms must provide information of any resale restrictions. 

Going forward, it is now vital that the UK’s consumer laws are enforced, and recommendations made in the Waterson Review of secondary ticketing are fully implemented. After the General Election, we will need details on how all these changes will work in practice. Only then, and combined with a concerted effort from industry and regulators, will this broken market be fixed and British audiences provided with the open and properly-functioning resale market they deserve.