Government defeated in Lords vote on secondary ticketing

Government defeated in Lords vote on secondary ticketing

The government was defeated in the House Of Lords last night (March 29) as peers backed an amendment to the Consumer Rights Act relating to secondary ticketing.

Peers, who also approved plans to ban ticket-buying bots, voted 180-157 in favour of requiring resellers to provide the ticket reference and booking number, along with any specific conditions relating to resale, to potential buyers.

This is on top of existing obligations to provide the original face value, seat/row numbers and any usage restrictions.  

"It is a simple additional consumer protection measure which does not cost anything," said Lord Colin Moynihan during the Digital Economy Bill hearing. "It would look after consumers - in this context, particularly fans of sport and fans of music - which is what we should be all about."

Conservative peer Lord Thomas Ashton had argued the proposal was "untested" and offered "false hope". "There is little evidence of there being the trust between the primary and secondary markets necessary to enable such verification," he said, adding: "While ticket reference numbers do not offer a solution, we agree with the proposal to require consumers to be informed of the terms of resale.  

"Rather than amending the Consumer Rights Act, we believe that the existing law should be tested."

Nonetheless, having been passed, the amendment will now return to the House Of Commons to be debated by MPs. 

Peers earlier moved to support an amendment to the Bill which will give the government the power to create a new criminal offence of using bots - computer software used by some touts to harvest event tickets for resale - to bypass limits on maximum ticket purchases set by event organisers.

"The amendment will provide the power for government to introduce a criminal offence to address the use of bots to purchase tickets for a recreational, sporting or cultural event in excess of the maximum specified," said Lord Ashton. "We believe that the amendment is needed to clarify the law and put beyond doubt the illegality of this practice and the need to report it.

"Further, with the new offence on the statute book, the government will work with industry to enforce it. An offence is only worth having if criminal acts are reported. We have industry groups in place that are now willing and able to take action in partnership with our law enforcement agencies."

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