Senior figures from the music industry rounded on “sneaky” ticketing resale sites in a Parliamentary hearing into ticket abuse.
Tuesday’s meeting of the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Committee began dramatically as controversial secondary giant Viagogo ignored a request to provide a representative to answer MPs’ questions.
Committee chair Damian Collins described Viagogo’s no-show as “a considerable disappointment”.
Those who did provide oral evidence to the Committee included Ed Sheeran’s manager and tour promoter, Stuart Camp and Stuart Galbraith, who said sites were offering tickets despite being warned that purchasers would not be allowed entry to shows.
Galbraith said: “We wrote to the main four secondary sites … asking them not to list [Sheeran’s] show, informing them that, as part of our terms and conditions of the show, resale was not allowed … and that if we were able to find anyone who purchased tickets in the secondary market they would not be allowed admittance to the show.
“All four sites ignored our requests and all four listed tickets at inflated prices knowing that it’s our intention to cancel those tickets.”
Keith Kenny, sales and ticketing director for hit musical Hamilton, told the Committee that Viagago sometimes offered tickets for shows which didn’t even exist.
He added: “Ultimately, our terms and conditions say ticket reselling is forbidden. If you look at the way that glossy, sneaky site is constructed, they’ve gone an awful long way not to be compliant in the way they’ve built their site.”
Claire Turnham, of campaign group Victims of Viagogo, said Viagogo had shown “contempt for their customers” and only gives refunds “to those people who make enough noise”.
View the CMS Committee hearing into ticket abuse here
She said some customers had been left “sick”… unable to go to work and experienced anxiety issues after discovering that they had paid money for tickets they could not use.
She said: “The money is huge, there are other costs as well, sometimes people are travelling to the event as well. All the people that tried to buy them are ordinary people, who tried to do something very special for their family.”
Collins was unhappy at Viagogo’s failure to attend, particularly as he felt the Committee’s previous session on the ticketing industry in November 2016 led to significant developments, such as investigations launched by tax authorities and the Competition and Markets Authority.
“There has been substantial movement and progress made since the Committee session last year, but it seems Viagogo feel they have nothing to add to the evidence that has been collected so far.
“If we are to see progress made, it’s important that we see companies comply. If companies flout UK law, they should see their trade restricted.”