Industry News

Secondary ticketing code of practice unveiled

Secondary market coalition the Fair Ticketing Alliance (FTA) has published a code of practice, which prohibits resellers from using Viagogo.

The alliance, which launched two months ago, is working with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and UK Trading Standards to develop a regulated system for resellers.

The code prohibits the use of bot technology, demands that brokers respect any restrictions artists and promoters place on tickets, and calls for transparency.

Pollstar reports that Stephen Lee, chairman of FTA, said: “We want to bring all the brokers onto this code, which lists that you must only list on compliant exchanges.

“So, as well as being compliant when we purchase tickets with our business model, we need the ticket exchanges to be compliant with the CMA guidelines as well. It’s 50 per cent their responsibility, 50 per cent ours.”

The code also states that members should not list tickets on secondary sites that are not compliant with CMA regulations.

Last month, Viagogo was referred to National Trading Standards and threatened with prosecution after failing to comply with the advertising watchdog’s transparency criteria.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) claims that the controversial secondary ticketing firm is continuing to use misleading pricing after its deadline to make changes to its website by May 29 passed.

In addition, football’s global governing body FIFA has filed a criminal complaint against Viagogo over its conduct in the run up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Football’s governing body said it has received numerous complaints from individuals, consumer protection bodies and other market players about “opaque and deceptive” aspects of the service.

The three other leading secondary sites, StubHub, GetMeIn! and Seatwave, have all complied with CMA’s recommendations, which include notifying buyers if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door, making clear the name and identity of the person selling the ticket and information on a ticket’s seat number and location inside a concert venue.

The FTA code of practice dictates that resellers must abide by those rules. FTA members are also forbidden from buying or selling tickets for charity events.

Lee added: “We realise there’s a lot of bad apples in this industry, exchanges as well as brokers. We want to clean it up, we feel that licensing will enable us to do that. We’ll have responsible brokers that don’t list on non-compliant exchanges and have a proper business model to follow as a standard.

“The family and friends model that we’ve set up is our way of getting tickets as businesses, because we feel that in this day and age you should be able to buy tickets online commercially.”

Image: Pxhere