Unique ticket number now required from resale platforms

Ticket resale platforms will have to provide a unique number for all tickets offered in the UK after the Digital Economy Bill was passed by Parliament last night.

The legislation, which has now been granted Royal Assent after being agreed by the Commons and Lords, will expand the Consumer Rights Act 2015, so platforms must provide a “unique ticket number that may help the buyer to identify the seat or standing area or its location”. It is hoped this will stamp out an explosion in fake tickets and cybercrime.

The Digital Economy Bill also aims to contain scalping by the criminalisation of the misuse of bots – or “electronic communications network” or “electronic communications service” – to bulk-buy tickets.

However, the bill’s effectiveness has been questioned by StubHub, the world’s biggest resale platform.

“We welcome any legislation and practices that will increase protection for consumers, however we feel that there could be significant fraud issues with the current legislation,” Wayne Grierson, StubHub’s UK Country Manager, told The Ticketing Business.

“We protect fans though our market-leading StubHub FanProtect Guarantee, which provides assurance to buyers that they will get the tickets they ordered in time and that they will be valid for entry. If not, StubHub will provide replacement tickets or a full refund. Refunds are also given if the event is cancelled and not rescheduled.

“We have been, and will continue to be, in discussion with the UK government to implement legislation that will protect the rights of fans to have access to live events.”

The passing of the bill was welcomed by MP Nigel Adams, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music and the original lead sponsor of the ‘ban the bots’ amendment.

He said: “This is going to make life more difficult for the touts and sends a clear message to consumers — be very careful when buying tickets on the secondary market.

“It means if tickets are resold contrary to the terms and conditions, the event organiser is able to cancel the ticket.”

The final stages of the bill’s progress through Parliament have been rushed since a snap General Election was called last week.

While welcoming the bill’s progress through Parliament, FanFair Alliance contended that the focus must now be on the actual enforcement of new provisions in the ticketing sector.

The pressure group said in a statement: “We were heartened that the Culture Minister has clarified unequivocally that secondary platforms must provide information of any resale restrictions.

“Going forward, it is now vital that the UK’s consumer laws are enforced, and recommendations made in the Waterson Review of secondary ticketing are fully implemented.

“After the General Election, we will need details on how all these changes will work in practice. Only then, and combined with a concerted effort from industry and regulators, will this broken market be fixed and British audiences provided with the open and properly-functioning resale market they deserve.”