FanFair Alliance unveils new push for UK legislation to curb touts

Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash

FanFair Alliance has urged MPs to introduce new legislation as part of a three-point plan to curb the “parasitical practices” of online ticket touts.

At a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ticket Abuse, hosted in the House of Commons, FanFair called for a “reset” in how politicians, regulators and the music business look to tackle ongoing problems in the market. Tougher action is now required, it said, after a string of missed opportunities to better marshal the sector.

FanFair Alliance said it is now imperative that the UK adopts legislation similar to countries including Ireland, France and Australia. These outlaw the resale of tickets for profit, while ensuring customers who can no longer attend an event can recoup the price they paid or less.

Its three-point plan covers legislative, tech and industry action:

  • Legislative action: New laws making it illegal to resell a ticket for profit, bringing the UK into line with other progressive music markets
  • Tech action: Platforms like Google and YouTube must stop promoting touts, and help direct consumers towards legitimate sources of tickets
  • Industry action: Across the board, the live music business needs to make capped consumer-friendly ticket resale visible and viable

The proposed measures have received the backing of senior figures from within the music business. These include executives from Association of Independent Festivals, Kilimanjaro Live and Music Venues Trust. UK Music, which earlier this week called for government action to curb exploitative secondary ticketing practices, also gave its support.

Sharon Hodgson, the chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, welcomed the proposals.

She said: “Since I introduced a Private Members Bill in 2010 that attempted to outlaw the resale of tickets for profit, we’ve seen many other countries adopt strict anti-touting legislation. It is high time that the UK caught up.

“Every week we continue to see thousands of ticket buyers fall foul of predatory and unlawful practices in the secondary market. I wholeheartedly support FanFair Alliance’s three common sense goals which would provide audiences with far greater protections, while helping to boost one of our country’s most important cultural industries.”

appg on ticket abuse

Immense frustration

In explaining its change of tack, Fanfair Alliance said despite a series of long-running investigations and actions by bodies including the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that have forced secondary ticketing websites to improve their business practices, “it is widely recognised that these platforms continue to benefit from large-scale ticket touts – many of whom acquire tickets through unlawful means”.

It reiterated its regret that the Department of Business & Trade last year rejected CMA recommendations relating to ticketing. These included a ban on platforms allowing resellers to sell more tickets for an event than they can legally buy from the primary market.

FanFair also said “it remains a source of immense frustration” that search engines continue to permit ticket touting websites to buy themselves to the top of search results.

Adam Webb, campaign manager, FanFair Alliance, said: “When the FanFair campaign was established in 2016, online ticket touting in the UK was out of control. There was little enforcement of consumer law, and fans were systematically misled and ripped off by the dominant secondary ticketing platforms.

“Despite substantial progress to improve this situation it is now clear we need a reset. We need fresh legislation and fresh thinking – ending once and for all the parasitical practices of online ticket touts, while doing more to proactively promote capped consumer-friendly ticket resale. The UK is rightly proud of its live music culture, and this is an area we should and could be leading the world.”