Ticketing industry on Waterson Report: “We need more help and protection”

The Waterson Report, a government review of the secondary ticketing market, has stopped short of recommending a ban on ticket resales and price caps.

The issue of secondary tickets hit the headlines earlier this year when it was revealed that an Adele ticket was on sale for more than £24,000.

The review, led by Professor Michael Waterson (University of Warwick), found that secondary marketplaces have been failing to provide information required under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Waterson recommended that a government body such as National Trading Standards should investigate breaches of the rules.

Jonathan Brown, chief executive of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR), commented: “The UK has a live entertainment sector that is the envy of the world. STAR welcomes and supports these efforts to safeguard the future of this hugely important industry.”

Some members of the industry were dismayed that the report did not recommend stricter limits on secondary ticket touts.

Stuart Cain, MD of The Ticket Factory expressed his disappointment at the decision: “The report is another wet squib and a kick in the teeth for artists and true music fans. A ban on ‘bots’ and this type of activity would have been welcomed by us; what might be ‘technically’ legal still isn’t right – surely that’s why we needed this review in the first place?

“This is a global game orchestrated by well-financed organisations and cyber-warriors in bedrooms across the world. We need more help and protection to take these guys down and make it harder to access tickets in the first place.

“The government should be promoting ways of working with the industry to address touting and cybercrime and helping the whole industry to do this. Funny that it set up task forces to manage touting for the Olympics when the eyes of the world were watching and it was a big political game – but doesn’t seem to want to play when their reputation is not at risk.”

Twickets founder Richard Davies added: “It is now vital that the government responds to ensure compliance with the Consumer Rights Act (2015) and that all relevant legislation is enforced. It must also be prepared to step in once more if self-governance measures fail.”

“Ideally, we would have liked to have seen the report go further to protect fans. It acknowledges that profiteering prevents consumers securing a ticket, yet calls for evidence of manipulation before recommending a price-cap.

“In our view the only way fans can be properly protected is through a blanket ban on resale for profit, as has been implemented in other markets around the world, and was successfully achieved for London 2012.”