CHOICE Calls for Urgent Reform of Ticket Resales Industry

From CFA member CHOICE:

A study of the ticket resale industry has found desperate fans are fed up with a market which uses unfair sales tactics to deliberately confuse, overcharge and hit them with sneaky fees.

“From Ed Sheeran and Adele to Cirque Du Soleil and the Cricket World Cup, consumers are being hoodwinked into thinking they’re dealing with the official ticket seller,” says CHOICE head of media Tom Godfrey.

A CHOICE study of 1051 complaints from Australia, New Zealand and the UK has found 79% of Australian case studies were tricked into thinking the website they were using was the official seller.

“Search engines such as Google are complicit in the confusion because they allow resale websites to place paid links above official sites in search results,” Mr Godfrey says.

“Our study found 76% of fans in all three countries who found their ticket through a Google search thought they were visiting an official primary ticketing site, not a resale site.

“Once you land on a resale site you don’t really stand a chance with resellers using tricky tactics such as disguising buttons to look similar to authorised sellers or making ‘official’ claims.

CHOICE is calling for urgent reform to curb bad behavior in the booming industry.

“Worryingly Viagogo, TicketmasterResale, Seatwave and Stubhub were named in more than half of the complaints (56%) for sneaking in additional, unavoidable fees throughout the checkout process. 11% also said their credit cards had been overcharged, Mr Godfrey says.

“While the resale industry has a legitimate reason to exist, it is in utter shambles.

Our latest research found 11% of people reporting ticket problems never even saw their resold tickets and 8% said their tickets were fake.

CHOICE is urging promoters, venues and ticketing companies to do their part to stop consumers getting ripped off.

“Consumers reported resold tickets were automatically cancelled by the venue and fans were devastatingly turned away at the door,” Mr Godfrey says.

“In one case, an AFL fan was duped into paying a 900% mark up after being slugged $70 for a ticket for a match in Perth, which was later revealed to be a $7 children’s ticket. This clearly illustrates why resellers must be required to list the seat and section details or any restrictions.

“Instead of punishing devoted fans, resellers should be held responsible for making sure tickets are genuine and promoters should disclose the number of events in a tour and allow last-minute name changes on tickets,” says Mr Godfrey.

CHOICE Recommendations:
  • Online resellers should clearly show they are a secondary market website
  • Resale websites should state clearly state the ticket’s details during the booking process, including:
    • Seat and row number
    • Venue
    • Original price; and
    • Restrictions.
  • Reseller websites must remove any dubious ‘official’ claims in advertising and misleading statements such as ‘last tickets left’.
  • Search engines such as Google need to ensure ads for resale websites don’t contain misleading claims about being ‘official’.
  • Promoters, venues and ticketing companies should specify:
    • The number of tickets available for pre-sale and general sale
    • The number of events scheduled for a tour; and
    • The number of seats in a venue.
  • Ticket companies, artists and promoters should invest in innovations to reduce fraud. For example, allowing name changes on tickets or developing better ticketing systems to allow more sales to genuine fans rather than professional scalpers.
Media Inquiries
Tom Godfrey, Head of Media and Spokesperson, 0430 172 669, @choice_news

CHOICE Ticketing Campaign
Consumers can sign up to CHOICE’s campaign to reform the ticket resale industry at