Music and theatre tickets are still being sold unlawfully on some secondary websites, claims Which? investigation

  • Some buyers aren't shown the face value or seat numbers of tickets
  • Consumer law says secondary sites must show the original price
  • Consumer group Which? calls for Government action on reselling sites

Secondary ticket websites including StubHub, GetMeIn, Seatwave and Viagogo are breaking consumer law by not always showing the face value of tickets or details of seat numbers, a consumer watchdog has claimed.

Numerous examples of unlawful selling were discovered by consumer group Which? when it looked into more than 200 ticket listings across the major websites.

This is despite it being written into law that consumers must be told details such as the face value of tickets when buying them through a secondary website.

Unlawful selling: Some concert tickets are being sold on reselling websites without the original price listed

Ticket sales on secondary websites were analysed for several big events including Beyonce's Formation tour, Catherine Tate, Jersey Boys, Magic of the Musicals and Wicked the Musical.

In multiple examples, key information was missing from tickets listed on the major sites. The consumer group discovered, for example, that on Viagogo some ticket listings for Beyonce and Catherine Tate did not show the original face value of the ticket. 

Instead the site said in its small print that the original ticket price was within a range which varied widely in some cases such as between £40 and £200 for the Beyonce tickets.

But the site requires sellers to enter the exact amount they had bought the tickets for, suggesting that Viagogo is choosing not to tell buyers the face value of the ticket. 

At This is Money we have been campaigning since 2007 for tighter rules on websites allowing touting of tickets at an inflated price.

We believe that while some sellers are fans offloading tickets they can't use, many are simply snapping up tickets to popular events to sell on at high prices. This is highlighted by the fact that tickets for many popular gigs go on sale on secondary sites at far more than face value almost as soon as they are released. 

Since then work has been done to clean up the industry, including the rules that say face value must be shown when tickets are relisted, designed to show fans how much more they are paying. However, tickets for popular gigs being sold on at sky-high prices are still common-place - hitting ordinary fans hard.

The investigation found that Viagogo had also omitted seat numbers from all of the ticket sales checked by Which?. 

A large number of tickets on StubHub, owned by eBay, and Seatwave, owned by Ticketmaster, also omitted seat numbers and only included row or section numbers whereas only one listing on GetMeIn, also a Ticketmaster company, had a seat number.

This is because it is possible for a seller to list a ticket for sale on any of these four websites without entering the seat numbers of the ticket. 

It has been written into consumer law since May 2015 that reselling websites must list the face value of tickets and other details such as the seat and row numbers

It was also revealed that Viagogo did not ask sellers to include details about ticket restrictions when they listed tickets on the site whereas sellers on the other three sites sellers were required to confirm these.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 specifically requires that consumers are made aware of the original value of a ticket on a secondary website, any restrictions where appropriate, and details of the seat and row numbers. These rules were introduced on the 27 May 2015. 

Director of policy and campaigns at Which?, Alex Neill, said: 'It is clear that the protections put in place by the Consumer Rights Act aren't being followed by some of the biggest players in the market and no action is being taken against them.

'The Government must crack down on bad practice so that people know what they're buying and don't get ripped off.' 

This news comes days before a review is due to be published by the Government looking into the secondary ticket market. Which? is calling for the Government to use this report to make it clear that ticket re-sellers, not consumers, are obliged to make sure certain details such as the original cost are listed.

Tickets to Adele's European tour appeared on reselling websites hours after going on sale for up to 10 times as much money

The review, launched last summer, is analysing the secondary ticket market to find out how it affects the availability, pricing and fair trading of tickets on the primary market.

It will look at how current consumer regulation works and if it is helping consumers and how it can be improved if necessary. 

A spokesperson from StubHub said: 'StubHub requires that any seller listing a ticket on must at all times comply with applicable laws and regulations. 

'In addition, we actively prompt sellers to provide information on face value and row and seat number.

'There are instances where sellers may not have access to this information at the time of listing, as some primary vendors do not provide this at the time of purchase.'

Seatwave and GetMeIn declined to comment and there was no reponse given by Viagogo.

Ticket re-selling websites have been the source of controversy for several years and at the end of last year we found evidence of tickets to Adele's European tour being sold for up to 10 times their face value hours after they had gone on sale.

Tickets were originally priced at between £35 and £95, plus a booking fee, with a limit to four tickets per person.

But on Seatwave some tickets were being sold for up to £899 while on Viagogo there were tickets being sold for £2,100.53.

In an investigation five years ago we revealed that Viagogo had used company credit cards to buy tickets to popular events which it then sold at inflated prices, according to a former employee. This was followed by a Channel 4 Dispatches programme 


If you're trying to buy tickets to a sold-out event reselling websites like Twickets, Vibe Tickets and Scarlett Mist sell them at the face value.

These websites will only allow users to resell tickets at the same price, or less, plus a booking fee (usually of around 15 per cent). 

Twickets, like other reselling websites, provides protection for those buying and selling tickets - so if something goes wrong you'll get your money back. 

As Scarlett Mist and Vibe Tickets serve to connect people who want to exchange tickets at face value and do not deal with the transaction there is no protection and those using their services should be wary of fraudulent tickets.

Joining a fan club will often give you access to early ticket sales, or discounts to events, while sites such as Get to the Front and Beat the Touts list advance tour dates.

Buying your tickets directly from the venue can also cut costs as most don't charge booking or delivery fees.

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