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Second-hand ticket, first-class confusion

A new investigation by consumer champion Which? has found that as many as a quarter of tickets to popular music, theatre and sporting events have ended up on secondary ticketing websites.

Sadly, tickets appearing on secondary ticket websites as soon as any major event goes on sale has become the norm and this often leaves consumers having to pay inflated costs to attend their dream event.

Our research found that more than a quarter of tickets (26%) for comedian Jack Whitehall’s upcoming Eventim Apollo show ended up on four secondary sites – Viagogo, GetMeIn!, Seatwave and Stubhub.

The investigation also found 17% of tickets for Lady Gaga at the O2 Arena in London and 15% of tickets for the first night of the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall were listed for sale on secondary sites. Tickets for the first night of the BBC Proms, that originally cost £38, were also found to have a mark-up of 279% on StubHub (£144) and 300% on GetMeIn! (£152).

The two biggest problems consumers told Which? they had faced when purchasing tickets on these sites were paying more than face value (72%) and hidden fees (46%), while one in 10 (10%) said the seat or area wasn’t as described.

Previous Which? research found that many websites were breaking consumer law by not listing the face value of tickets, restrictions on the ticket and, where appropriate, standing or seating information, such as block, row and seat numbers.

In its new investigation, Which? found that the way tickets are re-sold makes it difficult for consumers to make an informed decision about what they are buying. Worryingly, people are still not getting the ticketing information required by law when buying from secondary ticketing websites.

This contributed to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announcing an investigation into suspected breaches of consumer protection law in the secondary ticketing market.

When Which? called for people to share their experiences of secondary ticketing websites with them, it found that half (49%) of people who bought tickets on these sites thought that the website was the official ticket seller.

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said:

“People are finding themselves having to buy tickets through secondary sites more and more, and yet many struggle to find the basic information required by law.

“There needs to be more transparency within the secondary ticketing industry and the competition authorities must take strong action against those who aren’t playing by the rules.”

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