CMA orders StubHub to 'clean up' website, calls for stronger powers to fine law-breaking firms

CMA orders StubHub to 'clean up' website, calls for stronger powers to fine law-breaking firms

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has identified issues with the information provided about some tickets for sale via StubHub’s UK website.

The watchdog has also called on government to give it stronger powers to tackle infringement, including the ability to impose fines.

The CMA has reported its concerns that StubHub is not complying with commitments it made to clean up its site following a consumer law investigation. New issues have also been identified regarding secondary ticketing, which the CMA has told StubHub to resolve.

The CMA is concerned that StubHub has been failing to adequately warn people that tickets may not get them into an event; using misleading messages about ticket availability; targeting UK consumers with tickets for events listed on overseas versions of their websites, which may not comply with UK law; failing to ensure people know exactly where they will sit in a venue; and failing to take sufficient steps to ensure that the full addresses of business sellers are displayed.

StubHub has already told the CMA that it will make changes. If changes do not go far enough to address its concerns, the CMA said it will consider taking action through the courts.

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said: “StubHub had previously committed to make important changes to the information on its site, so anyone buying a ticket would know what they were getting before parting with their money. It’s therefore unacceptable that we have now found these concerns.

“We have demanded swift action to resolve these problems and are pleased that StubHub has said it will make changes in response. We will closely monitor the firm’s efforts and, if it does not quickly implement changes that satisfy us, we will take further action - potentially through the courts.

“As we continue to examine these consumer cases, it is now imperative that the CMA is given stronger powers to rule on whether a company has broken the law and impose fines if needed. We will continue to work with the government on the most effective way to achieve this.”

Adam Webb, campaign manager, FanFair Alliance, said: "This is a welcome announcement from the CMA, which again highlights continuing dysfunctions in the secondary ticketing market. StubHub have had years to comply with UK consumer law, they were forced to sign legal undertakings in April 2018, and yet they still fall short of expected standards. If StubHub and other secondary ticketing platforms continue to mislead UK audiences, we would urge the CMA to take decisive action through the courts. Today's developments should also provide yet more impetus for regulators to thoroughly investigate the proposed merger between Viagogo and StubHub."

The CMA is also continuing to monitor resale site Viagogo. A review, carried out by Deloitte, did not find concerns about the site’s compliance with the court order secured to overhaul the way the site does business.

A separate investigation is ongoing into Viagogo’s anticipated purchase of StubHub.


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