The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in the UK, which protects consumers by promoting fair and competitive business practices, has reached an agreement with the Society of Ticket Agents & Retailers (STAR) on a new set of terms and conditions for sales of event tickets.
Under the new guidelines, ticket sellers will better clarify consumer rights if a problem arises, what happens if an event is cancelled or rescheduled, how ticket companies should resolve disputes and how tickets can be re-sold by consumers. The guidelines, which will be printed on tickets, will be phased in over the next year.
The agreement follows studies by the government Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and others, about secondary ticketing in the UK, which has seen its share of problems over the past several years.
“The experience of buying tickets for live performances and events is usually trouble-free,” said Mike Haley, the OFT’s director of consumer protection, in a statement. “However, there is a need for consumers to have recourse to fair and clear terms and conditions in the rare occurrence that an event is cancelled or should any unfortunate or unforeseen problems arise.”
STAR represents dozens of ticketing companies, venues, theatres and box offices in the UK, including Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which are currently being reviewed by British officials over the their proposed merger. But, the UK’s two biggest secondary ticket companies, Seatwave and viagogo, are not listed among Star’s members, so whether the two plan to follow the same guidelines is unknown. Attempts to reach Joe Cohen, founder and CEO of Seatwave, and Eric Baker, founder and CEO of viagogo, were unsuccessful.
Attempts to reach Jonathan Brown, secretary of Star, and Graham Burns, chairman of the Association of Secondary Ticket Agents, were unsuccessful.