Businesses that see an opportunity in buying tickets for upcoming summer festivals or other events and reselling them for profit should be aware of the legal risks.

In 2016, the Belgian consumer organization Test Aankoop/Test Achats filed several lawsuits against organizations selling tickets for concerts, sports events, musicals, etc.

Indeed, the resale of tickets is generally not permissible in Belgium.

Since the Act of 30 July 2013, the resale of tickets for cultural events, sports events, commercial events and live performances has been prohibited. The Act prohibits “regularly reselling tickets” or “occasionally reselling tickets at a higher price than the initial price”, and it also prohibits “all preparatory actions and presentations connected with such sales”.

To assure the safety of football matches, a separate Act has, since 1998, prohibited the resale for profit of tickets for national or international football matches.

Non-compliance with the requirements of the Act of 30 July 2013 on the resale of tickets for events could result in a financial penalty, ranging from EUR 156 to EUR 60,000. Unlawfully selling tickets for football matches can even result in a prison sentence of between six months and three years.

As well as public authorities, the consumer organization Test Aankoop/Test Achats is also checking on unlawful sales of tickets, often via the internet. The consumer organization announced in December last year that it had filed a class action against eight undertakings that unlawfully offered tickets for sale. These class actions arose from thousands of complaints received by the consumer organization concerning excessive prices that were charged for tickets, tickets that were paid for but never delivered, or refusals by event organizers to admit ticket holders.

The hope is that, this summer, consumers will be better protected against unlawful ticket sales.