New code announced for ticket agencies

The government is encouraging music, theatre and sport ticket agents to
adopt a new code of conduct in a bid to stamp out ticket touts. The launch
of the code follows those previously reported concerns among event promoters
about the growing number of tickets touts, and the increasingly large
commissions they charge. Those concerns follow in particular the growth of
online ticket touts and fears that agencies like the now defunct
getmetickets.net, who charged incredibly large commissions, are giving the
whole live industry a bad reputation.

Speaking at a meeting of the live entertainments sector, Culture Secretary
Tessa Jowell launched the code, warning that the rise of the ticket tout
meant that live entertainment events were becoming “the preserve of people
with bulging wallets”. She added: “I want to see ticket agencies squeezing
ticket touts out of business to protect genuine fans from being frozen out
of the market”.

The code is voluntary and doesn’t aim to stop the reselling of tickets
completely, for example it is felt genuine fans who buy tickets for an event
but can then not attend should be able to sell their tickets on. However, it
is hoped measures such as limiting the number of tickets individuals can
buy, blacklisting known touts and ensuring legitimate agencies have
effective returns policies will make it difficult for professional ticket
touts to prosper.

Concert promoter Harvey Goldsmith, who has been particularly vocal in airing
his concerns about ticket touts of late, agrees that some kind of industry
code needs to be adopted, and says that the sector is close to reaching
agreement on what that code should be. He told reporters: “We are edging
towards coming up with a code of practice that everyone in the industry can
subscribe to in order to control ticket touting”.

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