Government gets tough on ticket scalpers

TICKET scalpers face an unprecedented crackdown, with the federal government exploring an outright ban on reselling tickets to major events such as the Australian Open.

Another option is for onselling sites such as Viagogo to be forced to display a warning notice, similar to health warnings on cigarette packages.

Treasury is investigating five possible ways of stopping ticket price gouging and dodgy conduct. Its report suggests a favoured approach would be to force reselling websites to carry disclaimers such as: "Warning: this site is not an official­ ticket seller. This site is a ticket resale site."

 

The federal government is planning an unprecedented crackdown on ticket scalpers. Picture: AFP
The federal government is planning an unprecedented crackdown on ticket scalpers. Picture: AFP

Consumer advocate group Choice has found two-thirds of people search online for concert or event tickets and often cannot tell whether the website they are purchasing from is official or not.

Viagogo is already being pursued by the competition watchdog for alleged misleading and deceptive conduct, after it jacked up ticket prices for the Ashes cricket and The Book Of Mormon musical - sometimes by more than 30 per cent.

 

 

 

England captain Joe Root inspecting the ball during the recent Ashes Test against Australia. Picture: AAP
England captain Joe Root inspecting the ball during the recent Ashes Test against Australia. Picture: AAP

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar confirmed the government was consulting over what changes it could make to crack down on dodgy behaviour.

"I expect consumers should always get a fair deal when purchasing tickets for events and to access all available tickets on the market," Mr Sukkar said.

"While we are still working to properly address these problems­, Australians can be assured that we will do all that is necessary to protect them from any unfair or unscrupulous practices."

Australian Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said the government would crack down on scalpers. Picture: AAP
Australian Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said the government would crack down on scalpers. Picture: AAP

New laws in NSW and Victoria­ have yet to stop ticket scalpers being able to charge huge amounts of money for tickets - even when they are more cheaply available through official ticket sellers.

A quarter of Australian Open fans who purchased resold tickets through Viagogo were turned away last week, after the Swiss-based company charged five times the official price for sold-out seats for the men's final. Even children's ground passes, which could be bought from official channels for $5, were being sold for $31.

Viagogo did not respond to a request for comment.

A Treasury report on making such sites carry warnings states: "Ticket­ resellers and ... ticket reselling platforms would be required to disclose certain information when reselling tickets.

"The secondary ticket market­ creates opportunities for consumers to be exploited when they do not have enough information to make informed purchasing decisions."

Ryan Bondy as Elder Price in the The Book of Mormon. Picture: Jeff Busby
Ryan Bondy as Elder Price in the The Book of Mormon. Picture: Jeff Busby

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