The Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT) and 30 other signatories are calling out self-regulation of online marketplaces, and have argued there needs to be “effective and unambiguous rules”.

FEAT has joined a list of 30 signatories in a statement created by the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) surrounding the European Union’s upcoming Digital Services Act. 

The statement is addressed to members of the European Parliament, Council and Commission, and discusses the issues caused by secondary ticketing and calls for the Digital Services Act to set out “effective and unambiguous rules […] to tackle illegal activities and rogue traders”. 

It also argues that self-regulation has failed and that online marketplaces need to be held accountable for the sales they allow to happen in order to better protect consumers. 

FEAT director Sam Shemtob said: “Secondary ticketing legislation across Europe takes the form of a patchwork of laws that differ from state to state. This enables unscrupulous marketplaces with deep pockets to operate with impunity – ripping off fans and damaging the entire live sector.”

Shemtob added: “The evidence of wrongdoing is overwhelming. By increasing accountability and introducing basic due diligence requirements that are uniform across Europe, the Digital Services Act can help create a ticket resale ecosystem that stops fans being ripped off and strengthens the recovery of the live sector post-COVID.”

The statement argues that secondary online marketplaces need to be liable when they fail to carry out basic due diligence or fail to put a stop to illegal activity on their site. It also says that marketplaces should set up a verification system to verify traders. 

The Digital Services Act offers the opportunity to end the exploitation of live music, entertainment and sports fans at the hands of ticket touts, who are able to use ticket resale sites across Europe anonymously. 

The letter refers to evidence provided by FEAT including nearly 60 legal cases and initiatives involving secondary ticketing marketplaces that have taken place in Europe. 

Amendments to the Commission’s proposal for the Digital Services act are in discussion, with the Parliamentary committee responsible preparing to vote on the final text to take forward. 

Other signatories include the Eurogroup for Animals, European Environmental Bureau and European Union of Electrical wholesalers. 

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