The Impact of Ticket Restrictions on Consumers
Today’s blog is all about ticket restrictions and the impact on consumers.
These are the restrictions that ticket promoters put in their terms and conditions that tell fans what they can and cannot do with the tickets they buy.
Sometimes these restrictions are made very clear before the purchase and other times these restrictions are added in later after the purchase.
There are many different restrictions used to control the distribution of tickets, from paperless to I.D events. At their core they all have the same ambition, that is to make sure the promoter and artist remain in control of their product.
The success of these restrictions varies greatly, it depends on who is enforcing them and the size of the venue where the event is held. Some venues will always struggle with the implementation of the restrictions as they don’t have the resources to enforce them, this is generally the case for larger venues.
One of the more popular restrictions at the moment are I.D events, these events require the person who purchased the tickets to attend the event, no resale of the tickets is allowed, no transfer of tickets is allowed (i.e. they cannot be gifted to friends or family), and if multiple tickets are purchased everyone has to enter the venue at the same time as the lead booker.
The promoters say they set these restrictions because they do not want the resale of their tickets, they want fans to pay the price the artist has set and no more. Promoters claim that ‘touts’ are ‘ripping off’ fans and this is their way of controlling where the tickets end up.
The main issue with ticket restrictions is what happens if for whatever reason fans chose to not use the ticket they have purchased, with many tickets being purchased up to a year in advance anything could change.
If the original purchaser doesn’t use the ticket then it is worthless, just a piece of paper. It is not possible to obtain a refund because ticket companies don’t give refunds. It is also not possible give it to someone, even for free.
There are however some options available to consumers, one of the options is the fan to fan resale, these are secondary ticket companies that are made available by the promoter or primary ticket companies. They offer a resale facility that sets a cap of 10% over the Face Value of the ticket, they also charge a fee ranging from 10-20%.
The issue with the fan to fan resale websites is they are set up as an afterthought, they are lacking in marketing, which means the chances of the tickets selling are low. The main reason they are set up is to give consumers an option to do something with the unwanted tickets, which is great when it works, unfortunately it’s not competitive enough to give consumers the support they need.
The fan to fan 10% capped market has seen an increase in popularity with some of the bigger names in primary ticketing getting involved, these are the ticket companies that already dominate the primary market and now they have set their sights on the secondary market. These restrictions and vertical integrations will keep the tickets in a closed loop, which allows strict control at every stage of the ticket’s life cycle. It could be argued that this creates a monopolistic control of the tickets and events, leaving consumers with limited options when it comes to buying and reselling tickets.
The government department Competition & Markets Authority believes consumers should have the right to resell tickets, that is why they incorporated it into their legislation in the Consumers Rights Act 2015.
They make it very clear that an event organiser cannot cancel a ticket merely because that ticket has been resold.
This is why it creates confusion and a grey area for consumers buying and reselling tickets, on the one side the CMA say resale is allowed and on the other promoters are saying that they don’t allow resale of their tickets, unless it is with a resale partner that they specify.
It is also important to point out that primary ticket prices are on the increase, not all fans have the financial freedom to throw away tickets or at the very least make a substantial loss on their original purchase. When circumstances change a fans experience of the ticket industry can change very quickly, they can soon realise they have very few options if any at all to recoup their money.
Fans shouldn’t have to take a gamble a year in advance on whether they will be able to attend an event or not, they should be able to purchase a ticket and look forward to that event and if, for whatever reason plans change then they should be within their rights to do whatever they want with their ticket.
All of this has been in reference to the resale of tickets but another big sector that will take an impact from restrictions is the gift market, consumers love to give event tickets as gifts to friends and family. This will no longer be an option for consumers as in the desperation to control tickets this area has not been addressed, it is just another freedom that has been taken away from the fans.
We think everyone agrees that the ticket industry requires an evolution, something needs to be done to make it workable for all involved, but are ticket restrictions really the answer that fans are looking for?