Backstage: what are ticket resellers and how are consumers losing out?
A recent CHOICE investigation uncovered the shady world of ticket resale websites. Consumers reported paying excessive fees, receiving fake tickets, and lacklustre customer service.
The ticket scalping scene – politely called the "secondary ticket market" – has seen a huge change in the last few years, as dedicated resale websites have moved into the market.
Swiss-based Viagogo launched in Australia in late 2013, followed by Ticketmaster Resale in mid-2014.
These sites act as middlemen for ticket on-sellers and their customers, providing the platforms to list tickets, in addition to facilitating the transaction. Sellers can list tickets at any price they want, and the free market takes care of the rest. The website takes a commission. In many cases tickets are being on-sold to shows that haven't even sold out yet. When CHOICE visited Viagogo to check out prices to Adele's upcoming tour, we found listings for the "Cheapest in Sydney!" at $145. Far from it: these tickets were $41 more than the cheapest tickets still available through the official outlet.
It seems profiteering scalpers have moved their business to the very platforms which were designed to thwart them. Scalpers are also rumoured to let bots loose on primary market websites, buying up tickets faster than any human and on-selling to fans at a huge mark-up.
We need to know more – what’s really happening and how can we fix it? Our international investigation will help get the answers.
We’re ticked off. It’s time to get to the bottom of this ticketing fiasco.