Secondary ticketing sites rapped over 'misleading' pricing

6 March 2018, 16:48

Four secondary ticketing websites have been banned from giving "misleading" price information by the advertising regulator.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found StubHub, Viagogo, Seatwave and GetMeIn were not up front and clear with consumers about additional ticket fees and charges that are added at the end of the booking process.

The ASA has also banned Viagogo from claiming to be the "official site" and offering a "100% guarantee".

The rules are a bid to combat countless complaints from fans feeling exploited.

"I thought I was paying £263 for four tickets," Claire Turnham told me.

"It wasn't until I finished the whole process of buying the tickets that I realised actually that £1421 had been taken from my account.

"Well over £1100 had been taken from my bank account without my consent and I had no control over that."

A number of artists have added their famous voices to the fight against sites selling tickets at often hugely inflated prices.

Recently Ed Sheeran went several steps further. The British artist has cancelled tickets for his 2018 tour that were sold anywhere but the official resale site.

The ASA says this move by Ed Sheeran proves the 100% guarantee offered by secondary sites is invalid and its new rules are to ensure more transparency for fans.

Chief executive Guy Parker said: "The message from our rulings is simple and clear. The price you see at the start should be the price you pay at the end."

While the ASA's measures have been welcomed by campaigners, it doesn't have the power to stop the bulk buying of tickets or sellers slapping on a massively inflated price tag.

FanFair Alliance says it is aware of thousands of UK music fans who feel ripped off by so-called secondary ticketing platforms.

In a statement it said: "Almost without fail, these victims share three recurring complaints: they were directed via Google advertising towards these sites, they thought they were purchasing from an authorised seller and they were misled on pricing."

A StubHub spokesperson said: "StubHub supports any measures which make ticket buying easier, more convenient and more transparent for fans."

Ticketmaster issued a statement on behalf of its companies GetMeIn and Seatwave: "Our ticket resale sites already ensure fans know exactly what they will pay at every stage of the buying process."

Viagago was yet to respond to our request for comment.

The ASA action against resale sites is separate to a continuing investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Its inquiry, which has lasted more than a year, is examining a range of complaints against the secondary ticketing sector, including price, pressure-selling and refunds.

The CMA's last update, in November, confirmed enforcement action would be taken against a number of operators suspected of breaking consumer law.

It has refused to identify the brands.