A push by performers, promoters and the Labour opposition to tighten the UK market for reselling tickets was defeated on Monday.
More than 80 signatories of an open letter — including Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, the managers of One Direction, the Rugby Football Union and music promoter Harvey Goldsmith — had urged the government to “put fans first” and back a change in the law.
They wanted MPs to support an amendment to the consumer rights bill forcing companies such as Ticketmaster and StubHub to publish information on the tickets they sell, including who they buy tickets from, its face value and the ticket’s terms and conditions.
The clause was inserted into the bill last year in the House of Lords but the government was determined to remove it on the basis that it could “overburden individual fans with red tape”.
The government won the vote to overturn it by 289 votes to 204. Only three Conservatives rebelled -Stephen Barclay, Andrew Percy and Mike Weatherley – while no Liberal Democrat MPs voted against the government.
Sajid Javid, now culture secretary, has previously said websites selling second hand tickets were “classic entrepreneurs”.
But the Metropolitan Police has warned that the secondary market encourages “unscrupulous practices, a lack of transparency and fraud”.
In their open letter, published in The Independent on Sunday, the event promoters said they were committed to giving eventgoers the best possible experience at a fair price.
“The way that the secondary ticketing market is allowed to operate at present can seriously undermine that effort,” their letter read.
Sharon Hodgson, a Labour MP, said before the vote the government should listen to “consumers, the police and the live event industry” instead of a handful of people and companies making money from the “current murkiness and underhand dealings in the market”.
Stella Creasy, the campaigning Labour MP, was among those MPs urging followers on Twitter to join a campaign called #putfansfirst. “Stop sports and music fans being ripped off by ticket touts,” she said.
Secondary ticket providers said there were unintended consequences behind the proposed amendment.
Christoph Homann of Ticketmaster, which owns resale operator Seatwave, said: “The amendment would be unenforceable and, worse still, would leave consumers open to a greater risk of fraud and potential loss where demands for additional information allow event organisers to cancel tickets.”
According to Brigitte Ricou-Bellan of StubHub, event organisers only want more detailed information about the ownership of a ticket “so that they can void and cancel tickets that have not been resold through a website of their choice”.
Both pointed to surveys suggesting that the public supported the secondary ticket market and thought they should have the right to resell tickets they could not use themselves.
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