Insights Government publishes response to recommendations from Competition and Markets Authority to improve consumer protection in the online secondary tickets market

In August 2021, the CMA published recommendations to the Government on the secondary ticket market following concerns raised by the public, Parliamentarians and campaigners.

Setting out its recommendations, the CMA said that together with Trading Standards, it had dedicated significant enforcement resources to tackling non-compliance in the UK uncapped secondary tickets market, where tickets are resold at any price that the seller chooses. As a result of this work, it said that there had been marked improvements in compliance. However, considerable concern remain. Accordingly, the CMA made various recommendations to change the way the market is regulated, including:

  • a ban on platforms allowing resellers to sell more tickets for an event than they can legally buy from the primary market;
  • ensuring platforms are fully responsible for incorrect information about tickets that are listed for sale on their websites; and
  • a new system of licensing for platforms that sell secondary tickets that would enable sanctions such as taking down websites, withdrawing a business’s right to operate in the sector, and the imposition of substantial fines.

In its response, the Government recognises the enforcement action taken to date by the CMA and Trading Standards, but states that it does not currently intend to introduce further regulation in this area. The Government says that it is not convinced that the additional costs that would fall on ticket buyers, as regulatory costs would be passed on, are justified by the degree of harm set out in the CMA’s report. Further, the Government says that it is committed to giving the CMA the tools it needs to enforce the law adequately and create a competitive and attractive UK market for business and consumers. In the Government’s view, the CMA will be able to use these powers in the secondary ticketing market. Accordingly, the Government is focusing its consumer protection measures in the recently introduced Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill. To read the Government’s response in full, click here.