Ticketmaster has been accused of not doing enough to stop professional ticket touts bypassing strict purchase limits imposed on ordinary fans.
The company is a primary agent, but it also owns the resale sites GetMeIn and Seatwave: critics of these “secondary” sites say they have become a lucrative haven for professional touts.
An analysis of GetMeIn found one company offering up to 18 tickets to see the Grammy award-winning artist Norah Jones. The gig is part of the Summer Series at Somerset House in London, for which Ticketmaster is the primary ticket agent. The same company also advertised 12 tickets for Goldfrapp and 20 for Birdy, part of the same series of concerts, all for well above face value.
Terms and conditions on the Somerset House website, which directs fans to the Ticketmaster website, state: “Tickets may not be sold or transferred.” Ticketmaster’s own terms and conditions say: “Maximum six tickets per transaction. Please adhere to published ticket limits”. The disclaimer adds that if Ticketmaster spots the same person buying multiple batches of tickets, it has the right to cancel them without notice.
Music fans’ group FanFair Alliance questioned the firm’s commitment to stopping touts, given that its own subsidiary resale firms stand to profit from sales by people who have circumvented the limits:
This looks like one rule for fans, and another for professional touts – with a network of third-party businesses able to bulk-buy tickets above the stated limits, and then resell on secondary at inflated prices.
The promoter of the Summer Series at Somerset House is Metropolis Music, owned by LiveNation, which also owns Ticketmaster. The Tory MP Nigel Adams, who has campaigned for the reform of ticketing, said:
Given that the one common denominator surrounding these gigs is Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster, GetMeIn and Seatwave, one would expect the company to be able to give consumers 100% certainty that they’re not being taken for a ride on prices.
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