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Ticketmaster defends resale website

March 9, 2017

Event sales company Ticketmaster has defended its resale website, which has reportedly being widely used by scalpers to sell inflated-price tickets to a range of music events over the past year including Adele and Justin Bieber's current concerts and Midnight Oil's upcoming reunion tour.

Advocacy group Choice has asked the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) to investigate the Ticketmaster Resale website, alleging it has been used to sell Justin Bieber VIP concert tickets for $2,555 - a 374% mark-up on the original price.

Frontier Touring, the promoter for Midnight Oil's 2017 reunion tour, has also told the ABC it will make a submission to the ACCC about "misleading sales tactics and language" used by some resale sites.

The ABC reported that Midnight Oil fans were upset last week when tickets sold out on Ticketmaster's main site within minutes - only to appear shortly afterward on websites such as Ticketmaster Resale and Viagogo at hugely inflated prices.

Ticketmaster said it was "100% committed to transparency and is continually reviewing its practices and platforms to ensure it is fully compliant with applicable regulations".

The ticketing agency was reported by the ABC as saying “we see ourselves as the leading example of good practice in the ticketing market and will continue to work to provide customers with fair and transparent pricing structures.

"If instances of non-compliance by sellers are highlighted to us we take appropriate action to ensure the sellers address those issues."

Choice has also lodged a complaint against the Swiss-owned Viagogo site.

Midnight Oil alleges the "vast majority" of tickets to the band's concerts in Sydney and Melbourne had been taken by scalpers, who listed them for resale on the websites.

On twitter, Midnight Oil's lead singer, Peter Garrett, said it was "time to act".

The former Federal Labor minister said caps should be placed on the premium that could be charged on a concert ticket when it was resold.

He also called for a ban on ticket-buying ‘bots’ - sophisticated software that can snap up hundreds of tickets the moment they go on sale.

He added that the ACCC and relevant departments should "enforce the Trade Practices Act et al to stop ViaGoGo's deceptive and misleading conduct.”

Ticketmaster said its Resale site was a "safe and secure" marketplace where fans could buy and resell tickets, backed by a guarantee.

It said sellers were responsible for setting the prices they wanted for the tickets they sold.

The ABC reported that the problem has got worse over the past year - to the point that venues are putting on extra staff to deal with angry fans who have been turned away from events with fake tickets bought online.

The site Viagogo advertises itself as an official seller - and said it offers consumer protection.

Choice Head of Media and Communications Tom Godfrey said both claims were questionable at best.

Godfrey told the ABC “we've caught out Viagogo advertising one price and then dripping in unavoidable fees and charges at the checkout. Which means you can't redeem the advertised price.

"We've also found them advertising the cheapest tickets available, when in fact they're not the cheapest tickets available.

“It's illegal and it needs to be stamped out."

Different Australian states have different scalping laws, with Queensland's laws arguably the strongest as both buyers and sellers of scalped tickets can face fines.

However, the laws only apply to Stadiums Queensland venues.

NSW prohibits scalping around the SCG, the Sydney Football Stadium, and the Olympic Precinct, but not online.

In Victoria, it is illegal to sell tickets to the AFL Grand Final for more than face value - but the law does not apply to major music events.

A spokesman for Victoria's Major Events Minister John Eren told the ABC the Victorian Government is considering extending the law to major music events.

Image: Midnight Oil

8th March 2017 - CHOICE MAGAZINE ACCUSES TICKET RESALE SITES OF MISLEADING FANS

1st March 2017 - TICKETMASTER RESALE WEBSITE SLAMMED AFTER MIDNIGHT OIL SELL OUT

23rd February 2017 - TICKET RESELLER VIAGOGO HIT BY MULTIPLE SPANISH LEGAL ACTIONS

29th December 2016 - TICKETMASTER ACCUSED OF FACILITATING SCALPING AT BIG BASH LEAGUE GABBA SELLOUT 

22nd November 2016 - TICKETEK AND TICKETMASTER RESPOND TO MASSIVE DEMAND FOR ADELE TOUR TICKETS

24th September 2016 - GROWING USE OF BOTS FOR HOT SPORT AND ENTERTAINMENT TICKETS REIGNITE SCALPING DEBATE 

24th September 2014 - VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT WARNS OF ZERO TOLERANCE FOR AFL GRAND FINAL TICKET SCALPERS

 21st February 2014 - CALLS FOR NATIONAL CRACKDOWN ON SCALPING AT FEDERAL SENATE TICKETING INQUIRY 

25th September 2013 - VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT TACKLES TICKET SCALPING WITH TOUGHER PENALTIES

 

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