The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued new regulations on ticket resale operations in the United Kingdom, indicating that websites must make the total price – including all fees – clear from the start of the purchase process. It has also struck down certain language used by resale operations in the marketing of their inventory, particularly Swiss-based Viagogo, one of the top marketplaces in the area, along with StubHub and Ticketmaster’s Seatwave and GetMeIn brands.
“Many of us will recognize 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,” says ASA Chief Executive Guy Parker. “The message from our rulings is simple and clear: The price you see at the start should be the price you pay at the end.”
Much of what is being required is actually already a part of recent updates made by Google to its policy’s regarding resale operations hoping to use its AdWords platform to buy space at the top of consumer searches for tickets.
Resale websites, including primary ticketing companies with resale tickets prominently featured in the same ecosystem like Ticketmaster, must now certify to use AdWords. Among the requirements are a prominent declaration that a website is a resale marketplace and that prices may be above or below face value, as well as up-front total prices including fees prior to a consumer entering their credit card data. In the future, resale companies will also have to disclose the original face value of a ticket being offered, though the details of that policy are still being finalized, since face value is such a fluid concept in the current ticketing landscape.
StubHub and Ticketmaster both issued statements indicating that they would comply in full with the new requirements – which is to be expected given that they already have to certify to use Google’s platform to market their offerings.
Viagogo, which faced the additional action of being banned from claiming that it is an “official site” or offering a “100% Guarantee” by the ASA, did not issue a comment to either the BBC or Billboard on the matter.