Finance Consumer Ticketmaster refuses to delete scalping site despite crackdown

Ticketmaster refuses to delete scalping site despite crackdown

Ticketmaster UK is shutting down its official ticket resale sites. Photo: Ticketmaster
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Ticketmaster has refused to clamp down on its Australian resale website Ticketmaster Resale despite the company’s UK arm imposing landmark anti-scalping measures.

Ticketmaster UK this week announced it will shut down its official resale websites Seatwave and Get Me In, which are known to list tickets at massively inflated prices.

As an alternative, it will be launching a new fan-to-fan ticket exchange portal on Ticketmaster where tickets will be capped at their original price – in the UK and Ireland from October, and in Europe from early next year.

Ticketmaster Australia confirmed exclusively to The New Daily it would not be shutting down its Australian platform Ticketmaster Resale or introducing anti-scalping measures in Australia. When asked why not, a spokeswoman refused to elaborate.

This is despite tickets being resold on Ticketmaster Resale at huge markups of almost 400 per cent. In one example, a $539 VIP Justin Bieber ticket was on-sold to fans for a shocking $2555.

Resale ticket sites have been exploited by scalpers but are designed for fans who can legitimately no longer attend. Photo: YouTube

Consumer protection expert Jeannie Patterson, of Melbourne Law School, said official ticketing companies such as Ticketmaster should not be facilitating the sale of tickets at extreme markups.

She said the moves in the UK would prevent scalpers profiting from re-selling heavily marked-up tickets.

“These companies have the power to improve the industry,” Ms Patterson said.

“They should be capping prices.”

Ticketmaster UK managing director Andrew Parsons said closing down its secondary websites had “always been [the] long-term plan”.

In a statement about the new exchange platform, he said: “We do all the hard work and outline the maximum that can be charged for the ticket – and it doesn’t cost fans a penny to sell them.”

However, it remains unclear whether buyers would be charged a fee for using the service and, if so, how large that fee may be.

The concept of a fan-to-fan exchange platform would not be entirely new in the Australian landscape.

Music festival Splendour in the Grass this year directed fans who had missed out on tickets to an official resale portal, but it was later criticised for charging fans “expensive” fees to cover administration costs – 10 per cent of the total ticket price – in addition to booking fees.

Ms Patterson said that while the new UK model would be an improvement, she had some concerns about it taking on a fan-to-fan format.

“Will Ticketmaster be guaranteeing the validity of tickets sold on the platform?” Ms Patterson said.

“I would also question what fees Ticketmaster is charging for the use of the site and who pays for that fee, the seller or the buyer?

“But these fees would still not be as high as the markups on scalping sites and consumers wouldn’t be paying an exorbitant price for a potentially forged ticket.”

She added it would also reduce the incentive for using automated ticket scalping bots – which can buy thousands of tickets from the moment they go on sale – because they would not be able to sell the tickets at a profit on a site that caps prices.

Event ticketing expert Dr Keith Parry said these measures would have no impact on unauthorised resale sites such as Viagogo from continuing operation.

“Unscrupulous companies and individuals will still find ways to get around laws and the new UK measures,” he said.

“It is still a case of supply and demand – if scalpers are buying tickets and people are desperate to see something, they will pay over the odds for tickets.”

Ticketmaster UK’s crackdown on ticket scalping comes one month after the Irish government backed a bill that would ban tickets from being resold for more than their face value.

Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar told The New Daily the government had consulted on options to address ticket reselling issues.

“There will be a meeting of consumer affairs ministers at the end of August where I’ll seek agreement on a national approach to ticket reselling issues,” he said.

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