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Call for action on ticket rip-offs

Some of the biggest names in music, sport and theatre are demanding the Government cracks down on “unscrupulous practices” among websites reselling tickets – often at huge mark-ups.

The managers of One Direction, and rock stars Nick Mason of Pink Floyd and Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, are among those calling for a change in the law to stop secondary ticket sellers ripping off customers.

The National Theatre, the Lawn Tennis Association which hosts Wimbledon, and the Rugby Football Union have also added their names to an open letter published in the Independent on Sunday.

Their public stand comes ahead of a key vote in the House of Commons tomorrow at which ministers will reportedly try to block a clause in the Consumer Rights Bill which would force sites reselling tickets to state its original face value.

The letter states: “As representative from the live-event industry, responsible for putting on shows ranging from international sporting fixtures and world-class theatre to intimate gigs, we are committed to ensuing that event-goers have the best experience possible at a fair price.

“The way the secondary-ticketing market is allowed to operate at present can seriously undermine that effort.”

They claim some promoters are funnelling sought-after tickets onto secondary ticket websites which sell them massively inflated prices.

They accused the Government of “sticking up for” these websites and urged it to “put fans first” instead.

And they point to a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary, The Great Ticket Scandal, which “exposed how secondary platforms court major ticket touts and take allocations directly from promoters to sell on above face value to customers”.

They say change is long-overdue after a Metropolitan Police probe Operation Podium published a report in 2013 calling for legislation to tackle “unscrupulous practices, alack of transparency and fraud” within the secondary market.

A proposed amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill would force secondary sellers to tell customers how much the ticket initially went for, who they are buying it from, and whether it is being sold in contravention of its terms and conditions.

But the letter accused the Government of trying to “strip” the clause out of the Bill and urged MPs to keep it in.

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