Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (Spurs) and Manchester United Football Club (MUFC) have amended their ticket sale terms following complaints to the OFT.
Spurs has amended the term concerning ticket refunds by deleting the provisions which stated that match tickets would not be refunded or exchanged in any circumstances. The OFT considered this term was unfair under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (UTCCR) by disadvantaging fans who purchased a ticket to a match which was subsequently postponed and who were unable to attend on the rescheduled date.
Separately, MUFC has amended the terms under which it sells its season tickets. Originally, the terms imposed an obligation on season ticket holders to purchase tickets for all home cup games but contained no reciprocal guarantee from MUFC to provide tickets for any of those games. This led to a situation where season ticket holders were obliged to buy tickets to all cup games (both important games (eg. Champions League matches) and more minor ties (eg. first round of the FA cup) but MUFC were not obliged to supply them with anything and so tended to provide tickets to only the less important matches. Because of the imbalance in obligation, the OFT considered this term inherently unfair. MUFC has now amended its terms so that season ticket holders are guaranteed to get tickets for all of the matches that they are obliged to buy them for.
Given the inherent nature of knock out cup competitions and the obligation to buy tickets to all home cup matches, season ticket holders could never be sure of the exact total cost of the season ticket. Following the OFT’s action, MUFC has released more information on ticket prices together with estimates of the likely maximum total cost of a season ticket.
These actions are further evidence of the OFT’s willingness to take action under the UTCCRs to ensure that businesses are dealing with consumers fairly. Businesses should review their terms and conditions of sale to ensure that they contain nothing that could fall foul of the UTCCRs.