Industry News

CMA defends UTN implementation period

The UK’s competition watchdog has defended the nine-month implementation period that ticketing operators have been given to comply with new rules.

The Fanfair Alliance yesterday told TheTicketingBusiness that the length of the period is “frustrating,” while Lancashire CCC has urged the authorities to enforce rules that require resellers to provide details of original face value and Unique Ticket Numbers (UTNs).

However, while the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) told TheTicketingBusiness that companies needed to be given time to change their operations accordingly, it was keeping close tabs on their progress.

“The commitments that we have obtained require an overhaul of the way that these businesses operate,” a CMA spokesperson said. “All changes must be made within nine months – the sites will be providing us with updates and we will be monitoring progress closely.”

As TheTicketingBusiness reported last month, the CMA said that StubHub, GetMeIn! and Seatwave have pledged to make it clear whether there is a risk a customer might turned away at the door, which seat in the venue the customer will get, and who is selling the ticket, so that the customer can benefit from enhanced legal rights when buying from a business.

At the same time the CMA threatened Viagogo with court action if it did not comply with the enhanced consumer legislation.

The CMA told TheTicketingBusiness that no progress has yet been made with Viagogo.

“Our announcement, made less than three weeks ago sets out our latest position,” the CMA added.

It continued: “All secondary ticketing websites must play by the rules of consumer protection law and treat their customers fairly. Its vital people using them are told basic but important information – like what ticket they are buying and if there is a risk it might not actually get them into the event.

“Our enforcement action has already seen three major sites commit to overhauling the way they operate so this information is provided clearly and upfront.  And we continue this work with others.”

The CMA added that it hopes to soon report back on the extended investigation into the resale sector that it announced last November.

It added: “We broadened the scope of our original investigation to cover new concerns about Viagogo, like pressure selling, people finding it difficult to get their money back under the website’s guarantee, and speculative selling – where businesses advertise tickets for sale that they do not yet own and therefore may not be able to supply. We hope to provide an update on this work soon.”