The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned four of the UK’s main ticketing resale sites from using “misleading” pricing information.

The advertising watchdog has clamped down on StubHub, Viagogo, Seatwave and GetMeIn after it found they had not been transparent about extra fees added to a ticket.

The secondary ticketing websites have now been forced to make the total ticket price, the VAT-inclusive booking fee and the delivery fee clear from the start of the buying process.

In addition, the ASA has prohibited Viagogo from stating it is an “official site” after finding it has continuously misled fans into believing it was an endorsed primary ticket outlet. The controversial resale site has also been banned from offering a “100 per cent guarantee” claim, which the ASA said misleadingly suggests that consumers were guaranteed entry.

The ASA’s chief executive, Guy Parker, said: “Many of us will recognise the frustration of being happy with the initial price of tickets on a secondary website only to be stung by hefty fees when we come to book.

“The message from our rulings is simple and it’s clear: The price you see at the start should be the price you pay at the end.”

 

 

A number of artists including Ed Sheeran, Mumford And Sons, Radiohead and Amy Macdonald have encouraged fans to stop using Viagogo, GetMeIn, StubHub and Seatwave.

Competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), announced in November that it was taking enforcement action against secondary ticketing websites suspected of breaking consumer law.

A StubHub spokeswoman said: “As a consumer-first ticket marketplace, StubHub supports any measures which make ticket buying easier, more convenient and more transparent for fans.

“We welcome this opportunity to work closely with the ASA and we will be fully compliant with its decision.

“We hope that other players in the ticketing industry, including primary issuers, follow suit.”

FanFair Alliance, the anti-touting campaign group, said: “FanFair Alliance is aware of thousands of UK music fans who feel ripped off by so-called secondary ticketing platforms. Almost without fail, these victims share three recurring complaints: they were directed via Google advertising towards these sites, they thought they were purchasing from an authorised seller, and they were misled on pricing.

“While we welcome today’s ASA ruling and hope it goes some way to addressing this latter issue, what’s absolutely crucial now is enforcement. Without proper sanctions, we fear that much-needed reforms will not be implemented, particularly by Viagogo, and the public will continue to be duped.”

Last month, Google announced it would no longer accept ads from secondary ticketing operators from today that do not make clear they are resellers under sweeping changes imposed by the search engine giant.

Google revealed it is tightening its standards and will require all resale sites to be certified and “radically increase their transparency.”

Image: Markus Hillgärtner