LONDON (CelebrityAccess) The Advertising Standards Authority has banned the four main secondary ticketing companies of the U.K. – GetMeIn, Viagogo, StubHub and Seatwave – from using “misleading” price strategies.
The decision by the authority arrives after a month of scrutiny, spurred by pressure from Ed Sheeran promoter Stuart Galbraith who influenced Google to change the way the sites are listed, according to the BBC.
The ASA now requires the companies to show total ticket price, VAT-inclusive booking fee and delivery fee at the beginning of the purchase process, according to the Telegraph. It also banned Viagogo from claiming it is the “official” site after apparently misleading consumers into believing it was the primary ticketing outlet.
Viagogo is also banned from making a “100% Guarantee” claim in its ads because it implies that consumers are guaranteed entrance to the events after the ASA found customers could be denied entry after purchasing a ticket from a secondary site, the Telegraph said.
“Many of us will recognise the frustration of being happy with the initial price of tickets on a secondary website only to be stung by hefty fees when we come to book,” ASA chief executive Guy Parker said in a statement. “The message from our rulings is simple and it’s clear: The price you see at the start should be the price you pay at the end.”
A StubHub spokeswoman provided the Telegraph with the following: “As a consumer-first ticket marketplace, StubHub supports any measures which make ticket buying easier, more convenient and more transparent for fans.
“We welcome this opportunity to work closely with the ASA and we will be fully compliant with its decision.
“We hope that other players in the ticketing industry, including primary issuers, follow suit.”
Ticketmaster, which owns Seatwave and GetMeIn, added, “Our ticket resale sites already ensure fans know exactly what they will pay at every stage of the buying process, displaying all fees as soon as the customer selects and submits the number of tickets they are looking to buy.
“We will continue to work with both the ASA and the CMA to further develop levels of transparency and consumer protection within the UK ticketing sector.”
Sheeran, Mumford & Sons, and Radiohead are some of the artists that have asked fans to stop using the four secondary sites, according to the Telegraph.
Claire Turnham, a consumer-turned-advocate, told the BBC the inspiration for founding Victim of Viagogo, an advocacy group that she claims as produced £250,000 in refunds.
“I had this idea because it was my 50th, my son’s 16th, my youngest daughter’s 13th and my middle daughter’s 21st that I would surprise them all with these amazing tickets for Ed Sheeran,” she told the BBC.
She said she we3nt to Google, saw tickets available through an advertisement, and went to Viagogo, where she found that four tickets would have a total price of £263.
“So I clicked buy and I went from that feeling of elation and joy to suddenly complete panic because what actually flashed up was the total cost was £1,421.
“I didn’t consent to that at all and in fact I didn’t have that much money in my bank account so I went then into sheer panic mode.”
She said the had to get bailed out by a friend to cover the situation.