On 27 May 2015 new disclosure requirements for those reselling tickets, and the marketplaces where such tickets are resold will be introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (the ‘Act’).
In summary the Act beefs up the regulation of the secondary ticket market by introducing the following requirements into law:
- persons reselling tickets for a recreational, sporting or cultural event through a secondary ticketing facility and the operator of the facility itself must ensure that a buyer is given information regarding: (a) the seat/row number or standing area; (b) any restriction which limits use of the ticket to particular persons (such as a youth audience); and (c) the ticket’s face value. In addition, where tickets are resold by event organisers or the operator of the secondary ticketing facility itself (or its employees, agents or members of its company group) a statement must be made informing the buyer of this
- an event organiser must not cancel a ticket nor blacklist the seller merely because the seller has re-sold a ticket or offered it for re-sale unless this right is included in the original ticket terms and conditions. However, such terms must be considered fair under Part 2 of the Act, or, for the period before Part 2 comes into force (expected 1 October 2015), under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. Blacklisting is defined as the organiser taking steps to prevent a person from acquiring a ticket or restricting the person’s opportunity to acquire such a ticket; and
- secondary ticketing facilities are under a duty to report criminal activity where it is aware that a person is using the facility in an illegal way.
Local authority trading standards will be responsible for enforcing these provisions and will have the power to impose fines on sellers and secondary ticketing platforms who fail to comply.
The secondary ticket market is worth an estimated £1 billion a year and the Act confirms that the Government supports this market but only in a form which offers greater protection for consumers and rights holders. The Act should be welcomed by rights holders who now have a much more straightforward way to identify the particular ticket being resold - which will in turn assist them in identifying those who are reselling tickets in breach of the ticket’s terms and conditions.
Consumers will benefit from having access to more information about the ticket they intend to purchase but the Act does not provide any additional protection for consumers purchasing on the secondary market. For example, there is no limitation on what prices tickets can be resold for nor are there requirements to either reimburse costs incurred from attending an event if a ticket is fraudulent or include in the list price all fees charged by the platform - all of which were recommendations made by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse who have been investigating the secondary ticket market since 2013. As part of the reforms the Secretary of State is obliged to report on consumer protection measures applying to the re-sale of tickets within 12 months of the enactment of these sections in the Act so perhaps further protection for consumers will follow.