Members of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR), the self-regulatory body for the entertainment ticket industry, have voted in favour of developing a Code of Practice for online ticket resale marketplaces.
Despite controversy around resale, reputable online marketplaces can provide a safe environment for people offering to resell tickets to transact with potential buyers. These marketplaces are therefore distinct from unscrupulous websites where customers are defrauded by sellers that do not have the claimed tickets to supply or even have a deliberate intention to take money but never supply tickets.
Chief Executive of STAR, Jonathan Brown, said “Customers deserve clear information about where they can buy tickets safely. STAR recognises that the UK ticketing industry has rapidly changed in recent years and today’s consumers expect greater levels of choice and protection. They need to know how and where they can buy tickets safely, whether they choose to buy them from the primary or secondary sectors. To increase clarity for ticket buyers, STAR will therefore develop standards of best practice to which we hope resale businesses that take consumer protection seriously will subscribe.”
STAR already operates a Code of Practice for the primary ticket market to which all the major names in UK ticketing are signed up. The new resale code will establish similar high standards of service and information as well as requirements regarding consumer protection and rights, particularly around the security of customer payments and guaranteed refunds if tickets are not supplied.
It is expected that the Code will be developed over the next few months before being presented to the STAR membership for consideration in the New Year. If the Code is approved and adopted by STAR members, resale marketplaces that can meet the demands of the Code would then be able to apply for membership.
The Government recently announced a review of consumer protection measures in the online ticket resale market and STAR looks forward to co-operating with that review. All STAR members are, of course, required to abide by the law. The new Code for resale will include reference to the specific requirements in the Consumer Rights Act and will be reviewed regularly to take into account any further changes in regulations.
Jonathan Brown added, “This is not about whether tickets should or shouldn’t be offered for resale or for how much they are sold. It is about pragmatically working to fill a gap in consumer protection by ensuring that customers are able to feel confident whenever they buy tickets and by improving standards even further in the legal ticket resale sector. We have to do all we can to be clear about the advice we give to customers to help them avoid illegal scam websites. We need to stop them from giving money to fraudsters who prey on fans desperate to obtain tickets for sold-out events without any intention of delivering.”