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Independent Review of Consumer Protection Measures concerning Online Secondary Ticketing Facilities

26 May 2016

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This review into consumer protection measures relating to secondary ticketing facilities became known as the Waterson report, after its author, Prof. Michael Waterson, economics professor at Warwick University, who led the independent review to assess consumer protection measures that apply to the online resale of tickets for events in the UK – including music, sporting and other cultural and recreational events.  It aimed to identify any problems for consumers and potential ways to address them.

Professor Waterson said:

“I approached this review without preconceptions. In pursuing it, I attempted to engage widely, to develop an analytical understanding of the ticketing industry as a whole, and to provide practical recommendations for change where necessary.”

Professor Waterson found there was work to be done and made a number of recommendations for all concerned with ticketing and the resale of tickets including both the primary and secondary markets.

His recommendations include:

  • a challenge to secondary ticketing platforms to ensure sellers on their platforms fully observe the rules set out in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – this means providing information such as the face value of the ticket, the exact seat location, and any restrictions on the user of the ticket (e.g. age). Where necessary, enforcement action should be undertaken.
  • secondary platforms [needing to] play a role in identifying traders and ensuring their details are provided to consumers.

  • primary ticket vendors should guard against the possibility of mass purchase by individuals (who have no intention of attending the event) in breach of contractual terms including by using ‘bots’. This deprives ordinary consumers of the chance to acquire tickets at the price originally established by the event organiser.
  • primary market operators need to increase transparency and come together to standardise the way in which information on available ticket outlets and the pricing structure is made available to the public.

Professor Waterson also believes more should be done to inform consumers seeking tickets about how the market operates across both primary and secondary sellers.

 

Crown Copyright, Publ, May 2016