Here’s a development in the secondary ticket market saga that will surely put live music fans in a good mood: According to a report in The Guardian, the British offices of ticket re-selling giants StubHub and Viagogo were raided earlier this year as part of an official probe into suspected breaches of U.K. consumer law, and officials seized data relating to “schemes that allegedly benefit industrial-scale brokers.”
The raids are key to an investigation launched last year into whether ticketing companies are giving fans enough information about the tickets they sell–such as who the seller is and whether buyers could be denied entry due to undisclosed restrictions on resale. Investigators are also looking into whether touts benefit from “connections” at resale websites to gain advantage over genuine fans trying to get hold of tickets.
As The Guardian explains, when the investigators issued “information notices” to four ticket reselling companies, “According to sources familiar with the investigation, GetMeIn and Seatwave complied but Swiss-based Viagogo and StubHub, which is owned by online auction website eBay, refused to hand over the information voluntarily.”
Officials are understood to have seized data relating to StubHub’s “top seller” program, which manages its relationships with industrial-scale ticket brokers selling tickets at enormous mark-ups. According to StubHub’s Top Seller Handbook, brokers who make more than $250,000 of sales per year are entitled to benefits including discounts on seller fees, which increase as their sales profits.
The site has previously come under fire in the U.K. in the past for allowing brokers to sell tickets without complying with U.K. laws that demand sellers provide information such as the row and seat number. StubHub responded that 98% of its sellers declared themselves to be genuine consumers rather than brokers, but said the company did not “police or monitor” the claims and was under no obligation to do so.
According to a source close to the ongoing investigation, “With concerts and events increasingly refusing to accept resold tickets we’d strongly advise people take steps to protect themselves by only buying tickets from official sellers, most of which are working with the authorities to help ensure more tickets are made available to genuine fans through official vendors.”
Hopefully, this marks a positive, productive step in the fight agains scalpers and the exorbitant secondary-market ticket price gouging that continues to frustrate live music fans on a constant basis.
[h/t – The Guardian]