The UK’s advertising regulator has identified its work within the secondary ticketing sector as one its greatest achievements over the past year in its annual report.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) celebrated its significant work in changing the way resale operators work in its 2018 summary, which was published this week.

In the report, chief executive Guy Parker reflected that the ASA’s work over the course of the year on secondary ticketing, as well as sectors such as gambling and parcel delivery, “protected the financially vulnerable”.

The ASA ruled against StubHub, Viagogo and two former Ticketmaster subsidiaries, GetMeIn! and Seatwave, in March 2018 for misleading pricing claims on their websites. The ASA said in its annual report that its rules now require that quoted prices include non-optional taxes and fees, which apply to all or most buyers. It added that companies should also state any applicable delivery fees and stop drip pricing.

The four ticketing sites were given a deadline of May 29 last year to remove the misleading price claims from their websites – or otherwise face referral to National Trading Standards for legal action.

The regulator said in the report: “These rulings put the sector on notice that their practices needed to change.”

StubHub, GetMeIn! and Seatwave all made changes to their advertising, at which point the ASA ruled that they were compliant.

However, controversial ticketing site Viagogo faced further action from the ASA with more sanctions and what eventually turned into a referral to the NTS for legal action to be taken against the company.

The ASA had ruled that Viagogo was misleading consumers by not being up front and clear about additional booking fees and VAT that were added throughout the booking process. The Authority worked with Viagogo to bring about “material changes” to its website and it deemed it had become compliant by September, four months after the initial deadline.

The ASA added in its report: “The effect is that prices in this important market are now being advertised transparently.”

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