Have you ever wanted to by tickets to a gig, theatre or comedy show only to find the tickets have sold out almost instantly and you’ve been left without?
To add insult to injury those tickets appear on a secondary ticketing website such as Viagogo, Stubhub, GET ME IN! or Seatwave within minutes but at double the price.
In recent years there has been an explosion in the number of so-called bedroom touts, many of whom use software known as “bots” that automatically sweep up huge numbers of tickets the moment they go on sale. They then resell them via secondary market websites.
This is exactly what happened when U2 Tickets went on sale for their Joshua Tree anniversary tour. Tickets sold out in minutes leaving many fans devastated after missing their chance to get some. But to make things worse, there were up to 60 tickets available on secondary sites minutes after the concert had sold out, and not only that but the tickets were being sold at ridiculously high prices.
Prices for the UK dates started at £40 and rise to £187. The starting prices for the tickets being sold on Seatwave to see U2 at Croke Park were a massive £329! (excluding delivery price as well.)
A lot of people have spoken up about this injustice and asked the question, is this legal?
And unfortunately it is. The act of reselling tickets, even at a significantly higher price than the face value, is not illegal in the UK.
Ticket touts and unofficial ticket agencies are not authorised to sell tickets by the performers. Those purchasing tickets from ticket touts, either online or outside an event, run the risk of purchasing tickets that are counterfeit or stolen. There is no way of knowing whether tickets purchased on the secondary market are genuine, and when purchased from an unofficial source online, there is no way of knowing whether the tickets even exist.
Secondary ticketing might be legal but that doesn’t make it morally right.
One of the only countries in the world to have any laws restricting these ticket touts is Australia; they have banned people from selling on tickets for more than 10% above the original price.
This certainly seems fair but with so many ways to buy tickets online, how can it possibly be policed? I know how I feel about this issue but it seems that there are too many new routes being created to flout the issue and we live in a society that seems to reward “entrepreneurism” rather than find ways to stop blatant racketeerism.
I guess it’s back to camping out beside the local Ticketmaster agent rather than hope that in the interests of fair play and true fandom justice will prevail.