StubHub accused of not disclosing when customers buy from touts | Competition and Markets Authority
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StubHub has been accused of not disclosing when customers buy tickets from professional touts, in violation of a legal commitment made to the consumer watchdog.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) requires sites such as Viagogo and StubHub to notify customers when tickets are sold by professional ticket sellers, who dominate resale listings for concerts and other events. which leads fans to pay massively inflated prices.
In responses to the Guardian, StubHub insisted it complied with this requirement, intended to ensure customers know who to contact if they have a problem. This can include denial of admission at the gate because resale sites have continued to sell concert tickets even when resale is not permitted.
A new analysis of the StubHub website earlier this week found that the ticket listings to see artists such as Adele and Coldplay did not contain any details of the sellers, prompting concern from an MP and activists.
While some announcements may come from regular fans who can’t attend and want their money back, a CMA report this year found touts typically behind more than 50% of tickets listed on Viagogo and StubHub.
Sources in the touting world said some tried to download the required information, but found it was not showing up on StubHub’s website.
The Guardian also cross-checked events on Viagogo and StubHub, and found that the exact seats on the same shows were being disclosed as being advertised by touts on the old site but not the last.
Shortly after the Guardian asked StubHub about the disclosures, certain details of the trader began to appear on the site.
Viagogo bought StubHub last year, but was forced by the CMA to sell its UK and EU business after a competition investigation.
Digital Fuel Capital (DFC) stepped in to buy StubHub UK.
Labor MP Sharon Hodgson, who is the main parliamentary assistant to party leader Keir Starmer, said the apparent lack of disclosure by StubHub “should sound the alarm bells for the CMA”.
She said StubHub appeared to “reverse its legal obligations,” including a pledge made to the CMA as part of its investigation into consumer law violations by Viagogo and StubHub, many of which were exposed to the Guardian.
“Either the evidence presented to the CMA is valid or it is not,” she said.
“If so, I would urge them to do their job, to take enforcement action and to help protect UK consumers.”
Adam Webb, of the music industry group FanFair Alliance, backed by managers of groups including Arctic Monkeys, said the evidence that consumer protection laws were being broken was “clear.”
“I can only assume that AMC ignores this evidence or doesn’t think it is important enough to intervene,” he said.
The CMA said it would take “appropriate action” if there was evidence that companies were not complying with the consumer law.
StubHub said it was “fully compliant” with the requirement to publish touts details. “As the CMA’s commitment states, if we are made aware of a non-compliance, we take corrective action to remove the ads and notify sellers,” a spokesperson said.
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