Yesterday evening, members of the House of Lords voted in favour (180 to 157) of an amendment in the Digital Economy Bill that would strengthen consumer law around ticket resale.

Tabled by Lord Moynihan, Amendment 33ZLZA would extend obligations in the existing Consumer Rights Act – and specifically that resale sites must provide the following information against listings:

(i) the ticket reference or booking number
(ii) any specific condition attached to the resale of the ticket

This is in addition to existing obligations to list a ticket’s original face value, seat/row numbers and any usage restrictions.

On the face of it, 33ZLZA sounds like a minor amendment – but this small change could make a significant difference, for instance:

– Giving buyers greater certainty that the ticket they are buying actually exists

– Preventing “speculative ticketing” – where touts list tickets for resale that they don’t actually have

– Ensuring standing tickets are given equal protection in law to seated tickets. (Many UK revenues have no reserved seating.)

– Ensuring consumers have essential information about resale T&C’s – for instance, if they will require ID to get through the door

Government has already committed to criminalise the misuse of bots to bulk-buy tickets, and accepted all recommendations made in the Waterson Review.

These are hugely positive steps, but Amendment 33ZLZA, if made law, would inject unauthorised ticket resale platforms with some much-needed transparency.

We will now look to discuss the issue further with Government, and have commented:

“Despite concerted media and political scrutiny, the resale of tickets on platforms like Viagogo, Get Me In!, Seatwave and StubHub remains wholly lacking in transparency. This is the only online marketplace where buyers are given no identity about sellers – a peculiarity which is massively helpful to touts whose activities are anonymised, but not so much to consumers. It’s is a recipe for bad practice at best, and outright fraud at worst. 

“That’s why this small amendment to the Consumer Rights Act is so important, as it could help provide more certainty that a ticket actually exists in the first place, as well as crucial details about terms and conditions of resale. FanFair Alliance warmly welcomes the Lords’ decision last night, and alongside the other recent commitments we look forward to further discussions with Government about how ticket resale can be made more transparent, honest and consumer-friendly.”

The full Digital Economy Bill debate can be read on Hansard here