Free to sell, free to buy


The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is currently undertaking a consultation on Ticketing and Ticket Touting. On their webpage the Department states, "The Government... does not favour legislation to prevent secondary sales.  But new laws cannot be ruled out if voluntary measures do not succeed and conditions for consumers do not improve. The consultation urges ticketing companies to tighten up sales of tickets if they want to prevent them being resold. "

However, polling by ICM for eBay has revealed that 86% of people think that they should be allowed to resell their own tickets if they can no longer attend the event. 83% of the public also show an understanding of property rights, agreeing with the idea that the ticket is theirs to sell on. 80% of people also believe that reselling tickets should not be against the law if they can no longer use it. And further evidence shows that 85% agree that the organizer, not the government, should ensure that tickets don't end up with touts. Over two thirds of people can also tell the difference between an individual selling their ticket and a tout, unlike the government and some event organizers who lump everyone together.

It is clear from this data that there is little need for the government to act. The event organizers need to implement a system that controls ticket sales so that the so called 'touts' aren't the ones purchasing tickets directly so that they may resell them on after events have sold out. One problem area highlighted by the polling data was that of the 13% who attempted to get a refund when they had unused tickets, only 42% were successful. If organizers were more willing to refund tickets then this would cut into the potential profits that touts could make and also offering a more secure environment for purchasing tickets. The answers to the problem of professional touts are straightforward and event organizers shouldn't be relying on/pressuring government to implement legislation that criminalises all merely to ensure their own profits on what is currently a bad business model.