The Waterson report

31 May 2016 Becky Humphries

The Ticket Factory is disappointed with Professor Michael Waterson’s comments following a government review about the secondary ticketing market that stopped short of advising a ban on ticket resale’s or price caps, which The Ticket Factory was lobbying for.

The review did however find that online secondary marketplaces have been failing to provide information required under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, such as the exact seat number. Professor Michael Waterson, who led the review, recommended that a government body such as National Trading Standards, supported by the police, should investigate breaches of the rules and enforce compliance through the courts if necessary. 

Managing Director of The Ticket Factory, Stuart Cain said: “The report is another wet squib and a kick in the teeth for artists and true music fans. So, the primary industry should find better ways of protecting consumers, enforcing the Consumer Rights Act and get better at addressing cyber-crime? A ban on ‘bots’ and this type of activity would have been welcomed by us; what might be ‘technically’ legal still isn’t right – surely that’s why we needed this review in the first place? We already have to actively invest time and money in protecting our website from greedy profiteers who have truly devious methods of buying up tickets. This is a global game orchestrated by well financed organisations and cyber-warriors in bedrooms across the world. We need more help and protection to take these guys down and make it harder to access tickets in the first place. 

“Legislation forcing proof of ID would help as a starter, but I don’t see that coming. As would the promotion and adoption of ethical ticketing re-sellers such as Twickets who cap prices.”

Stuart added: “Anyway, how do the recommendations work when one of the world’s biggest primary ticket agents owns one of the world’s biggest secondary sites? Bit of self-interest there, surely. In reality, all the secondary ticketing market does is legitimise touting and take away the risk. Why put a price on a website for ten times its face value unless you want to make a profit from the real fan? Without legislation capping prices and managing the murky grey lines between where the ticket will come from, the secondary players will continue to rip-off fans.”

Speaking about what The Ticket Factory would have liked, Stuart said: “The government should be promoting ways of working with the industry to address touting and cybercrime and helping the whole industry to do this. Funny that it set up task forces to manage touting for the Olympics when the eyes of the world were watching and it was a big political game – but doesn’t seem to want to play when their reputation is not at risk.

“The Ticket Factory is the only primary ticketing agency that has partnered with Twickets, an ethical secondary ticketing platform who issued the petition; that allows genuine fans to buy and sell tickets at face value.”

Richard Davies, founder of online fan-to-fan ticket exchange Twickets, said: “It is now vital that the Government responds to ensure compliance with the Consumer Rights Act and that all relevant legislation is enforced. It must also be prepared to step in once more if self-governance measures fail." 

Richard added: "Ideally, we would have liked to have seen the report go further to protect fans. It acknowledges that profiteering prevents consumers securing a ticket, yet calls for evidence of manipulation before recommending a price-cap.


“In our view the only way fans can be properly protected is through a blanket ban on resale for profit - as has been implemented in other markets around the world, and was successfully achieved for London 2012.”