A new Which? investigation has revealed that some of the most well-known ticket re-sale websites are not displaying the face value or the seating information to top pop concerts and sporting events.
We looked at five of the top resale ticketing websites and found key booking information was missing, in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, for popular concerts including One Direction’s ‘On the Road Again’, U2’s ‘iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE’ tour and sporting events including the rugby Six Nations tournament. Our findings come a week after the Government announced a review of consumer protection in the secondary ticketing market.
Our research into top sites Get Me In, Seatwave, Stubhub, Viagogo and World Ticket Shop found:
- Seatwave, Viagogo and World Ticket Shop failing to display the original face value of tickets. For example, we found seats to a Six Nations Scotland vs England game, sold through Seatwave, where the face value was given as £0.00. Viagogo was selling tickets to a One Direction concert last month where the original cost was merely stated as between £44.55 and £72.60. World Ticket Shop also didn’t display the original value of tickets to a Madonna ‘Rebel Heart’ concert, when £237.13 was being asked for a re-sold ticket. When the face value of a ticket isn’t given, or is only given in a way which is meaningless, consumers can’t work out what the original price was.
- All of the companies were found to be re-selling tickets with no clear information as to where fans would be sitting, leaving consumers unable to tell whether or not they’d be able to get a good view or how far away from the stage or pitch they will be. Get Me In were displaying tickets to a U2 concert with a block number but no details of row or seat. Fans of Mumford and Sons buying tickets through Stubhub for one of their gigs in November would have also found tickets on sale simply stating that they’d be in the ‘Upper Tier’ with no further information given.
- We also found a lack of clarity in the re-sale ticket terms and conditions as to whether the buyer would be allowed entry to the event having purchased a ticket through one of these sites. We found a single seat for the Rugby World Cup Final 2015 ticket being sold on Viagogo for £12,000, but – according to the event’s ticketing policy – the buyer could risk not getting past the turnstiles.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 specifically says that this information must be provided to prospective buyers, so that they can make an informed choice.
Prior to the Consumer Rights Act coming in, Stubhub, Seatwave, Viagogo and Get Me In all faced criticism from the UK’s competition regulator for a lack of transparency on ticket pricing, as well as for charging amounts that the CMA said were ‘too high’.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:
“It’s unacceptable that these ticket re-sale sites are getting away with not providing fans with key information, leaving fans unsure where they’ll be seated or if they’ll even get in.
“Re-selling sites must take responsibility for information displayed on their websites and ensure consumers are clear about what they’re getting for their money.”
Notes to editors
- We looked at five of the main ticketing re-selling websites – Get Me In, Seatwave, Stubhub, Viagogo and World Ticket Shop – and looked at tickets on sale between October 2015 and February 2016 for popular concerts and sporting events.
- Which? will be sending its evidence to the DCMS as part of its secondary ticketing investigation. We have also presented our findings to the ticket re-selling websites.
GetMeIn and SeatWave (owned by Ticketmaster) said if it became “aware that a seller is attempting to sell tickets without listing full details, when we are advised that all ticketholders definitely should be aware of all relevant details, we will contact them reminding them of their obligations under the Act. Where there is no response, we will follow up with the seller and ultimately remove the listing if we consider that any potential buyer could be at risk.”
Stubhub said it would “address the specific examples of alleged Consumer Rights Act breaches… Since we are not the seller of the tickets…we rely on our sellers to provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their tickets in order to comply with their legal obligations. In respect of Mumford & Sons…Sellers may not have all details to hand at the point of listing and are therefore unable to disclose them.”
Worldticketshop told us it offers “a 200% refund if a consumer purchases a ticket from one of our market places which fails to meet the description offered by the seller of that ticket. As a Dutch company with no operations in the UK, we do not believe that the provisions of the UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 applies to Worldticketshop or any of its subsidiaries; however, given our long history and culture of consumer protection, we have responded to the implementation of the Act in the UK and are working with our lawyers and organisations like Which? to ensure that our market places comply with the provisions of the Act.”
Viagogo is yet to respond.