New government guidelines strengthen secondary ticketing rules

Buying tickets online

The UK government announced new guidelines yesterday (15 February) which will help protect consumers from being scammed by secondary ticketing sites.

An announcement from the Department For Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy stated: ‘New rules will require sellers and platforms to provide more information around resold event tickets, protecting consumers from rip off prices.’

Under the rules, ticket resellers will be required, for the first time, to supply a unique ticket number (UTN), making it easier for promoters to identify and protect tickets from being traded on the secondary market.

Although event organisers are not obliged to provide a UTN, doing so will allow potential buyers, ‘to check directly with an event organiser whether a ticket exists and is valid.’

The second change will require secondary sites to disclose details of any restrictions that apply to the person who can use the ticket.

This includes if the ticket is restricted to a specific area, for example an area for wheelchair users, or if it is, ‘tied to an identified individual or a payment mechanism such as a credit card.’

The new rules will come into effect in April 2018.

Consumer Minister Andrew Griffiths said: ‘All too often, people are left feeling ripped off when buying tickets from resale websites.

‘Whether it’s a major music festival or a stadium concert, people want to know they’re paying a fair price for tickets to see the events they love.

‘We are already taking steps to crack down on touts using “bots” to bulk buy tickets for resale and the CMA is investigating suspected breaches of consumer protection law online.

‘Today we are going even further, making it easier for consumers to understand what they are buying to help save them from rip off ticket prices.’

He added that a Consumer Green Paper will be published later this year, examining, ‘how we can help people to engage with markets to find the best deals.’

The guidelines follow the news that Google has launched new rules for secondary ticketing websites to make them more clearly identifiable to consumers.

See the full secondary ticketing guidelines here.

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