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Federal Senate report suggests ticket scalping not a big problem

Federal Senate report suggests ticket scalping not a big problem
March 27, 2014

A Federal Senate inquiry into ticket scalping has found minimal evidence of ticket scalping in Australian entertainment and sport.

As a result, the Senate Committee looking into the matter doesn't see the need for any further regulation.

However, the Committee report does recommend that State and Federal Governments could work together to have greater co-ordination in how to deal with the scalping that does occur.

Releasing the report Ticket Scalping in Australia yesterday (26th March) Committee Chair Senator Mark Bishop advised that he had expected to find more evidence of ticket scalping across the country.

News Ltd websites reported that disgruntled Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and AFL fans had told the Committee of their difficulties in getting tickets over the past year but that ticketing companies and entertainment and sporting groups including the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS) and Live Performance Australia (LPA) had explained that committee large-scale, concerted ticket scalping efforts were rare in Australia.

COMPPS and LPA had said it was important to distinguish between genuine re-selling of tickets - for instance if someone bought tickets to a concert and then couldn't go - and scalping purely for profit.

Ticketing firm Viagogo seized on the Committee's report to attack the NSW Government's ticketing legislation that passed the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

Spokesman Alex Levenson said the NSW Government had ignored industry advice and consumers' opinions.

Levenson claimed onerous conditions were being imposed on NSW music and sports fans such as the need to include photos of the tickets they are selling with portions graphically edited out.

Recommendations from Ticket Scalping in Australia are:

Recommendation 1                                                                        

The committee recommends that both the COMPPS and LPA review the criticism that has been levelled at the primary market identified in this report and consider how event holders and promoters could adopt or revise a code of best practice to address the criticism. The committee notes particularly the desirability of having greater transparency in the way in which tickets are issued and distributed.

The committee supports the Ticket Brokers Association's suggestion that an industry-wide standard of conduct be established. It recommends that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) be consulted during the development of this code.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that the ACCC consult with the major participants involved in the sale and re-sale of tickets to sporting and entertainment events with a view to identifying areas where consumer education needs to be strengthened. The aim then would be to devise a consumer education strategy that would arm consumers with the information they need to protect themselves against poor practices in the industry and unscrupulous ticket scalpers.

The committee recommends that, based on the findings of this consultation, the major participants (and their representatives) in the primary and secondary ticketing markets, revise or develop a code of best practice that places a heavy emphasis on, and seeks to strengthen, consumer education.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends that the ACCC, as lead agency, coordinate with the states' Fair Trade Offices to obtain a more accurate understanding of ticket scalping practices within the industry across Australia and the significance for Australia, if any, of overseas trends. The aim would be to:

• Allow consumers to present their views on, and recount their experiences of, purchasing event tickets;

• Obtain a better understanding of measures that have proven to be effective in protecting consumers from unscrupulous ticket scalping in Australia;

• Identify ways to bring greater consistency across all states when dealing with ticket scalping; and

• Draw on overseas experiences that could be used to inform government decisions on future regulation of the secondary ticket market if required.

Recommendation 4

The committee recommends that the ACCC consult with the states' Fair Trade Offices to review the procedures for reporting and acting on complaints or concerns about purchasing tickets to sporting or entertainment events, in order to ascertain:

• Whether information sharing about ticket scalping could be improved between the states and federally;

•  Whether consumers are confused about procedures for reporting complaints, including the appropriate agency to receive and act on complaints (the relevant state or federal jurisdiction);

• Whether there is jurisdictional overlap that causes unnecessary duplication or conversely gaps that undermine consumer protection; and

• The extent to which consumers are reluctant to report complaints related to purchasing tickets for sporting or entertainment events.

If the consultations uncover weakness, the committee recommends that the ACCC work cooperatively with the states towards remedying the identified deficiencies.

Recommendation 5

The committee also recommends that, based on the results of the consultations and if required, the ACCC revise the advice it provides to consumers regarding the purchase of event tickets in both the primary and secondary markets.

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends that, in light of the growing sophistication in software, the Federal Government ensure that the effects of such advances on the primary and secondary ticket markets are monitored.

Click here to view Ticket Scalping in Australia (ISBN 978-1-74229-985-3)




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