MPs reject calls for total touting ban

MPs have resisted calls to ban ticket touts, concluding legislation should be a “last resort”.

However, an influential Commons committee called on the industry to clean up its act, especially over the “distasteful” sale of tickets to charity concerts.

Today’s report by the culture, media and sport committee urges the promotions industry to find a self-regulatory solution to secondhand ticket sales.

Promoters should consider creating refund systems which would allow fans to pass on tickets without losing money, MPs recommended.

Promoters and representatives from venues and events gave evidence to the committee that touting “marginalises fans, rips-off consumers and damages every sector in the industry”.

However, MPs were not persuaded by calls for a complete ban on touting, failing to agree on whether tickets can be classed a normal “commodity”.

MPs concluded fans could benefit from a self-regulated secondary market.

They did agree promoters calling for a ban were “largely” influenced by concern for genuine fans, pointing out they could simply raise their prices if they were motivated by higher prices.

At present it is not illegal to re-sell tickets, except to football games in England and Wales, although it is normally a violation of the promoter’s terms and conditions.

It is estimated up to 40 per cent of tickets are now sold via the internet, although MPs said they needed more evidence of the true scale of the problem.

Today’s report is especially critical of the “distasteful” sale of tickets to charity concerts.

Tickets to the Live 8 charity concert were advertised for sale on eBay for up to £2,000 minutes after being officially launched.

This “unacceptable” behaviour suggests eBay is more interested in profits than its consumers, MPs said.

Other proposals in the committee’s report are for sellers to pay a levy to artists and promoters from touted tickets, a measure support by acts including Robbie Williams, Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead.