Consumers in the United Kingdom shopping for tickets on StubHub will be greeted with a warning. Resold tickets ‘may not get them into an event,’ is among changes to the retail website required by the Competition and Markets Authority, which has been reviewing the company’s operations as part of its investigation into competition concerns raised by its acquisition by Viagogo earlier this year.
While resale operations have always stressed that publicized instances of resold tickets being invalid, such events are often the subject of dramatic headlines in the media, particularly in the UK, where artist and venue interests have waged a PR war against Viagogo that has extended to its newly-purchased subsidiary of late. The warning will now remind consumers of the tiny fraction of transactions where a seller is acting in bad faith every time they are going to purchase tickets to an event – which is precisely what venue and artist promoters hoping to eliminate competition from legal resale marketplaces want to see.
Other changes by the CMA to StubHub’s UK website include the removal of messaging indicating scarcity of available tickets and better information regarding the locations of seating for tickets listed. The changes are a step in the right direction, according to a CMA Spokesperson quoted in Digital Music News. “As these are formal undertakings, we can continue to hold them to account for their compliance.”
“If it emerges that consumer protection law is being broken, the CMA will consider whether further action might be necessary to address these issues.”
Hearings for the CMA’s inquiry into Viagogo’s purchase of StubHub are expected to begin in September, with a formal decision on the merger before the end of the year. Viagogo, founded by StubHub co-founder Eric Baker, closed on a $4 billion purchase of the competing marketplace in February.
StubHub says it will continue its cooperation with the regulators and comply with all consumer protection laws. “We have worked closely with the CMA to evolve our site in the best interest of our customers,” the company says.