Consumer body calls for clampdown on ticket resellers

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Wellington, September 2, 2017

Inflated prices, hidden fees and misleading sales tactics have been identified as major problems in the ticket resale market, in a joint investigation by Consumer NZ and Australian consumer group Choice.
More than 1000 consumers provided information to the investigation about their experiences with ticket resellers, such as Viagogo and Ticketmaster Resale.

The results of the investigation have been released in the groups’ report ‘Sold out: Consumers and the ticket resale industry.’

Unacceptable markup
Consumer NZ head of research Jessica Wilson said that the investigation found tickets bought from resellers that were marked-up by more than 500%. One sports fan bought a ticket to a Crusaders vs Hurricanes game that had a 700% mark-up.
Fifty-six percent of people were also charged extra fees on top of the ticket price.

By far, a majority of complaints regarding hidden fees (89%) were about Viagogo.
Eleven percent of purchasers paid for tickets that never arrived and 8% ended up with fake tickets.
Ms Wilson said that the investigation also found many purchasers did not know they were dealing with a ticket resale site. Eighty-five percent of people who bought tickets for a New Zealand event were unaware the website they used to purchase tickets was a reseller.

People duped
Consumers are being duped by the industry’s sales tactics, she said.

In advertising, Viagogo claims that it is an ‘Official’ site.

“The company’s website also pressures consumers to buy, claiming tickets are in high demand and selling fast.”
Consumer NZ has called on the Commerce Commission to take action against Viagogo and other resellers that risk breaching the Fair-Trading Act.

This week, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced it was prosecuting Viagogo, alleging the company had misled consumers.

Other parties involved
Ms Wilson said that action was also needed from event promoters and official ticket agencies. Practices used by these companies can create the impression tickets are in short supply, pressuring consumers to pay excessive prices for tickets from resale sites.
Promotors and ticket companies should be clear about the number of tickets available for general sale, the number of events planned and the number of seats per venue.
The industry also needs to invest in measures to stop professional scalpers buying up large quantities of tickets that are then sold on the resale market.
About the report: Sold out: Consumers and the ticket resale industry has been released today by Consumer NZ and Choice.
A total of 1051 consumers provided information for the report on their experiences with ticket resellers:
• 184 were from New Zealand
• 438 were from Australia
• 353 were from the UK
• 76 were from other countries.
Case studies can be found on consumer.org.nz
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