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Consumer Rights Act need further support to tackle ticket touting

Written by Mark Reed on 17 March 2017

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The secondary ticketing market is in need of further amendments according to a recent announcement from the government, after numerous calls from celebrities and ministers to change the way in how touting is regulated. Ticket reselling has been rife for decades, but with the growth of the internet, websites such as Viagogo, Get Me In, and Seatwave are inflating ticket prices to such a degree that it has got the attention of Parliament.

Recommendations made by Professor Michael Waterson were put on the bottom of the pile since the Brexit announcement was made, however, it has now been bought back into the forefront because of various Ministers of Parliament. Changes such as ensuring the obligations from the sellers to comply with the law which requires clarity from the Consumer Rights Act 2015, and more responsibility from the National Trading Standards to enforce the rules, are paramount.

One of the key issues is the use of so called ‘bots’ which is a software that touts use to quickly buy large amounts of tickets. This has led to discussions to an inclusion in the Digital Economy Bill (DEB) to ban this use of software. The initial thought, however, was that it would be better aimed at amending the Computer Misuse Act 1990 (CMA). However, there have been sessions to discuss the matter, and now the culture minister Matt Hancock said this weekend: “It’s unacceptable that touts are misusing technology to bypass security measures and buy up vast numbers of tickets before real fans get the chance, only to sell them on at rip-off prices. It’s a growing problem that affects too many people”. This statement, among other meetings has meant that it could be included in both the CMA and DEB when completed.

These new commitments by government will hopefully lead to a real clampdown on ticket touting online, and offer some support to the very basic provisions put forward in the original Consumer Rights Act 2015. We will keep you apprised on the developments.

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