Industry News

Competition watchdog threatens ‘enforcement action’ as new probe announced

A new enquiry into the secondary ticketing market by the UK’s competition watchdog will be carried out “as quickly and efficiently as possible”.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an enforcement investigation into suspected breaches of consumer protection law in the sector.

The investigation follows last year’s initial review into leading operators Get Me In, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo, which revealed concerns about compliance with consumer protection law. The CMA added that it had launched the new investigation in the wake of the initial review as one of the four operators was still “not fully complying with their undertaking and the CMA is actively pursuing this to ensure they meet their obligations in full”.

The CMA said it is concerned that people are not getting the full range of information required by law when buying tickets put up for resale. The enforcement investigation will specifically look at if information is provided on who the seller is and any connections the seller may have with the platform or event organisers; whether there are any restrictions on the use of resold tickets which could result in the person being denied access to the event; and where a seat is located in the venue.

A CMA source told TickTechNews that while a timescale for the investigation has yet to be confirmed, the organisation will proceed “as quickly and efficiently as possible… as this is an issue of great concern to many people within the industry and ticket-buyers”.

In the new investigation, the CMA will consider whether both the businesses selling tickets and the secondary ticketing platforms advertising them are failing to provide the full range of information in breach of the law. The CMA said it is also working with event organisers to help ensure that any terms used to restrict the resale of their tickets are fair for consumers.

“A night out at a concert or a trip to a big match is something that millions of people look forward to,” CMA acting chief executive Andrea Coscelli said. “So it’s important they know who they are buying from and whether there are any restrictions that could stop them using the ticket.

“We have heard concerns about a lack of transparency over who is buying up tickets from the primary market. We also think that it is essential that those consumers who buy tickets from the secondary market are made aware if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door.

“We have therefore decided to open a sector-wide investigation to ensure that customers are made aware of important information that they are legally entitled to. If we find breaches of consumer law, we will take enforcement action.”

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