back to article Proposed Brit law to ban b**tards brandishing bots to bulk-buy tickets

The British government is to ban ticket touts from using automated software to snap up more tickets than allowed by event organisers. The new criminal offence will be brought forward under a provision in the Digital Economy Act. Those who break the law will face an unlimited fine. The plans are part of draft legislation and …

John 110

Re: Promoters culpable?

"...instead of letting the free market solve it..."

Because the free market isn't solving it, perhaps?

Ledswinger
Silver badge

Re: Promoters culpable?

Because the free market isn't solving it, perhaps?

Of course it is. Just not in the way that many people like. If there were no people willing and able to pay above the face price of tickets, there would be no market for touts. That's the tricky things about markets - an economic outcome isn't necessarily the sort of outcome everybody approves of, since it amounts to rationing on price.

If the promoters were (in economic terms) competent, they'd set prices that cleared each category of tickets at the highest possible price. There would be no touts, but equally, the cheapest price for a top artist would be several hundred quid a ticket.

An interesting thought experiment for those who think that tickets are too expensive due to touts: What prices would you set, and how would you ration tickets?

John Brown (no body)
Silver badge

Re: Promoters culpable?

"Something I never understood is why someone wants to get the government deeper involved in something like this, instead of letting the free market solve it. "

The "free market" is what got us here in the first place. There is no "free market" when there is only a monopoly supplier.

d3vy
Silver badge

Re: Promoters culpable?

"If I have a bushel of apples, I should be able to charge whatever I want for the apples. Price them too low and I loose money. Price them too high and I eat them myself."

Ahh, but before you can buy your apples the farmer has given access to his brother in law who has taken 95% of the best apples. He then waits until everyone is starving before selling them for £££ above normal market rate.

Normal supply and demand rules don't apply is one entity has sufficient access to the supply side of the equation.

nijam
Silver badge

Re: Promoters culpable?

> Because the free market isn't solving it, perhaps?

Actually, yes it is, because the primary-owned secondary sites are doing exactly that. I suspect that it's just not the solution you personally wanted.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Promoters culpable?

@John Brown re: monopoly supplier

No such thing. Never forget, you ALWAYS have a choice.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Promoters culpable?

"Something I never understood is why someone wants to get the government deeper involved in something like this, instead of letting the free market solve it."

Quite. Getting incompetent British civil servants involved will only ensure the worst of all worlds. It's not like they're known for their problem solving abilities.

JimmyPage
Silver badge
Flame

Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant

are just two acts that I know of that managed to organise and fulfil a concert without any complaints of touting.

Having experienced the Percys methods, they work very well. I can't see how a ticket could have been sold on, since you needed to collect it one the day, with the card used to book it. If you had lost the card, then your new card needed the same name, and you needed additional photo ID.

So the question is, how come *some* acts manage to look after their fans ?

I look forward to hearing the tales of how this law gets misused. Because that always happens.

testacc

Take the same position on High Speed Trading....

GrumpyOldBloke

Yup, one moment capitalism and the efficiency of a competitive free market is good but if it gets in the way of the bread and circuses it is bad. There is no difference between ticket scalping and futures trading. If it pushes up the cost of food and fuel and the bankers profit it is good. If it pushes up the cost of nothing consequential and the plebs profit it is bad. From a market point of view bulk buying tickets helps to support the entertainers by guaranteeing a level of market support and contributes to market efficiency by providing services to those who are prepared to pay, and as our economics teachers told us, can make the best use of the tickets.

mintus55

primary auctions are the solution

big artists would make so much more if they set the prices at a market rate, instead of the fixed price.

The way to maximise revenue is to hold a series of ticket auctions, including a final auction 24hrs before the event to squeeze extra ££s out of the punters.

I don't have any sympathy for punters or bands in this debate - no one is forcing punters to pay high prices, and the bands and their management are just plain stupid when they sell things too cheaply.

John Brown (no body)
Silver badge

Re: primary auctions are the solution

"I don't have any sympathy for punters or bands in this debate - no one is forcing punters to pay high prices, and the bands and their management are just plain stupid when they sell things too cheaply."

And yet many of these acts have taken political stances of various types over the years, eg Bono, so charging the market rate based on what touts get away with would only show them for the hypocrites that they might well be.

2+2=5
Silver badge

Re: primary auctions are the solution

> primary auctions are the solution

Or maybe mandatory ballots / lotteries? Every event must have a one month period during which anyone can register to buy tickets. Names are then drawn out the hat.

Enforcement is by the promoter being required to retain the ballot details for a period and the regulator being allowed to examine all ballot submissions if they get complaints. Bots should be easy to identify by checking the supplied credit card numbers, postal addresses etc to see if they belong to individuals or corporations.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Buying tickets?

What's this about having to pay for tickets? Don't you just go "Hi, can you put me on the guestlist for..." and then just turn up at the front of the queue?

Next you'll be telling me all those people queued up in the rain waiting to be allowed in paid to be there too?!

John Brown (no body)
Silver badge

Re: Buying tickets?

"What's this about having to pay for tickets? Don't you just go "Hi, can you put me on the guestlist for..." and then just turn up at the front of the queue?"

You must be a peasant. I get my butler to do that for me.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Buying tickets?

Your Butler, how crude.

My Butler gets his dogsbodies lackeys baldrick to take care of such trifling matters.

Butler indeed, you have no breeding sir!

Zippy's Sausage Factory
Meh

Here in Portugal they sell tickets in Worten (the nearest thing we've got to Dixons/Currys to me within walking distance) and on BlueTicket. Weirdly we don't seem to have this problem here as far as I can tell. Maybe the fact that most of the secondary seller sites aren't owned by the primary sellers has something to do with that?

Stuart 22

Prioritising the priorites

Social mobility and the fair distribution of wealth going down the pan, NHS in meltdown, Brexit in chaos with the economic impact written on the back of a fag packet that can't be found - bu**er sorting that, let's get serious about ticket touts!

I guess someone in the Cabinet Office paid too much for Wimbledon last year ....

Doctor Syntax
Silver badge

Re: Prioritising the priorites

Government is responsible a lot of areas and not all the public have the same concerns. If the entire government machine was obliging you, Stuart, by concentrating on what you think they should be doing there would be a lot of other people complaining about neglect of other issues such as Xylella fastidiosa or asking why you left climate change or whatever off your list.

Tom 38
Silver badge

Re: Prioritising the priorites

Wimbledon is one of the few venues that don't really have this problem. The tickets you can buy in advance are bloody expensive, but still sell out, which maximises revenue for the tournament. The rest of the tickets are made available on a daily basis to those who queue up for a reasonable price, which ensures that people are not priced out of attending.

katrinab
Silver badge

Re: Prioritising the priorites

However, if you buy a debenture, essentially a 5 year season ticket, then you can legally resell the tickets for whatever price you want.

AndyMulhearn

No perfect solutions...

I saw Iron Maiden at the O2 last year and that was paperless so had to take along the card I used for the purchase and photo ID, the latter needing a quick passport renewal as the easier option than getting a photo drivers licence. In practice it worked fine for me, but what would have happened if late in the day I couldn't go? From the Ticketmaster terms, no one else would have gone either. Could I give tickets to that show as a present? Nope, I have to go and actually go in to the show. No other options.

While I can understand the desire to sell to real fans at face value, some of the other aspects of the "experience" seem not to have been thought through.

Martin-73
Silver badge

Re: No perfect solutions...

It strikes me that the tickettouter terms saying you cannot give the tickets away would be 'unfair contract terms'. Of course by the time you'd won in court, the event would be long gone...

Cynic_999
Silver badge

Anti-capitalism?

I thought it was perfectly acceptable to let the market set the selling price, and that buying something at a low price and re-selling at a high price was how the retail trade and capitalism in general was *supposed* to work? Especially when the item in question is most definitely non-essential.

Charlie Clark
Silver badge

Re: Anti-capitalism?

Yes, but the Department of Culture, Music and Also Sport likes to be seen to taking an interest in the plebs. You know, with things like salary caps for sportsmen…

The proposed solution is unworkable and easily contestable but as usual, it's all about grabbing some headlines.

Next week, of course, the touts will be invited to tender for the new NHS bed lottery…

Mark M.

As long as the unlimited fines doesn't go lower than the high 100's of thousands of pounds and the touts don't end up in front of a wet wimp of a judge (or even a dumbass jury) who doesn't understand the crime or the magnitude of it.

A "fine" of a few 10's of thousand pounds would be loose change to some of these greedy touts who will then make it up with the next ticket scalping.

The Nazz
Silver badge

Next - Sports Hospitailty?

Ticket touting at Football is illegal.

Ticket touting at major sports is perfectly allowable, indeed encouraged, provided you include a ticket within your £800+ hospitality package.

Mike Richards
Silver badge

Resale sites

Forbidding the ticket companies from owning the resale sites would remove the obvious abuse of their near monopoly. Can’t calculate the number of times I’ve patiently waited online to buy tickets only to see they’ve all been sold and mysteriously reappeared on places like Stubhub at massive markups.

SVV
Silver badge

Oh woe is him...

"He recently complained: "I'm having to miss the gala opening of Hamilton so I can vote on the EU withdrawal bill.""

What's that, you couldn't go to the theatre because you had to be at work, doing the job you get paid to do by us, the taxpayers? Poor diddums! The conclusion in the article is that this experience may prompt the ministet ti legislate against touting. I doubt he got his tickets online for thousands from a resale site : much more likely they were given to him free (no influence peddling with OUR politicians is there, eh Mathew?).

Bands can stop their fans getting ripped off if they want to. Otherwise, they're just lazy (most likely from my knowledge) or they are staunch believers in the let the market decide doctrine espoused in some other posts here (for many modern big name acts, also likely in reality). For me, a lot of stuff I like is still in pub sized venues - rarely have to bother with all this malarkey.

Martin Summers
Silver badge

Re: Oh woe is him...

"What's that, you couldn't go to the theatre because you had to be at work, doing the job you get paid to do by us, the taxpayers? Poor diddums!"

He's just as entitled to a private life as anyone else. Why do so many people think that people we elect have to be subservient to us? Fact is, he did miss going to see something he wanted to see to do the job. You're also forgetting that there's a large plethora of people paid by the tax payer to do jobs for us including the likes of doctors and nurses, would you say that to them? So what's your point really?

DrRobert

I completely fail to understand why this should be illegal.

I'm serious, this is not some trollery.

Martin-73
Silver badge

AOL! If you purchase a good, you may resell it. I was gobsmacked by the upthread comment (google shows it to be true!) that you can't re-sell your own football (soccer) ticket. That's utter testicles so far as I can see. If it's yours, you may sell it for whatever price you can get

John Brown (no body)
Silver badge

"you can't re-sell your own football (soccer) ticket. That's utter testicles so far as I can see. If it's yours, you may sell it for whatever price you can get"

That's one of the unintended consequences of attempting to stop the professional touts.

d3vy
Silver badge

The problem isnt the odd person selling their tickets because they cant make it to a game, the problem as John has alluded to is professional touts buying tickets on mass preventing the sale to real fans who are then forced to pay exorbitant rates to the touts.

More admin but a system for swapping tickets with other fans at face value could be made available.

So if you buy a ticket and cant make it you find someone who wants it, contact the company that you bought it from, the third party also contacts the ticket seller who takes their money an admin fee and then refunds you - basically they provide some escrow for the transaction...

The added benefit is that you can be sure that your getting your money and the buyer knows that they are getting genuine tickets and not being ripped off.

JimmyPage
Silver badge

re: you can't re-sell your own football (soccer) ticket

Wasn't that one of the laws bought in to crack down on football hooliganism ? Along with ID cards for people attending games ?

DavCrav
Silver badge

"That's utter testicles so far as I can see. If it's yours, you may sell it for whatever price you can get"

A ticket isn't a good. The physical ticket is, and you can sell it for whatever price you want, but what the ticket represents is a contract to provide a service. If you contract a plumber to fix your house for a fixed price, can you substitute your house for someone else's? What if there were no free slots for plumbers and you had an emergency? Could you sell someone else your plumbing slot?

In a contract, you cannot just scribble out one person's name and put another in. The good (which is the concert, not the ticket) hasn't been provided yet, so there's no first sale doctrine.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

unlimited fines

amazing, how easy it is to set it up for toutbots, and virtually (and literally) impossible for misleading advertising and a few other areas, where the "unlimited" fine might have a sobering effect. If I was cynical, I would say misleading advertising is good (for the tax-man), touting is baaaaad (for the tax-man)

inmypjs
Silver badge

As if the...

bastards don't have anything more useful to do.

"get the chance to see their favourite music and sports stars at a fair price"

A fair price is what people are willing to pay and if it takes touts to find out what the fair price is it would be just as sensible to legislate and fine the primary sellers for incompetence.

Doctor Syntax
Silver badge

It's not an area that greatly concerns me but from the descriptions I've read here I'd have thought existing fraud legislation might have dealt with a lot of it and has the added advantage of imprisonment as a deterrent. But introducing a new piece of legislation is easier for legislators than getting existing legislation enforced. Which raises the question of how the new legislation will be enforced.

DJO
Silver badge

I suppose making it illegal to sell tickets for more than 25% over the printed price would be too easy. Also banning "handling" charges would be necessary.

Ticket reselling is a parasitic business model that is grossly unfair and should have no place in modern business.

John Brown (no body)
Silver badge

"Ticket reselling is a parasitic business model that is grossly unfair and should have no place in modern business."

And people think "disruptive business models" like Uber are a new thing? :-)

There's nothing new about people finding a niche as a middleman with little to no benefit to anyone other than themselves in the long run. The customers always end up paying more while the suppliers save a few pennies and make people redundant.

Excellentsword

If you're paying more than £30 to see anything, you're doing it wrong

In myyyyy day (five years ago) you could arrive at the door to any rock venue in Camden and get in for a tenner to see internationally acclaimed bands. Now you do normally have to order in advance if you want to get in, but it's generally done through the promoter. Touts don't even come into it.

Jonathan 27

Good luck enforcing this, ticket scalping bots are illegal in the part of Canada I live already and it hasn't helped. The people doing this in the first place are criminals and they don't care if it's illegal or not. It will take some serious crackdowns to make a difference.

d3vy
Silver badge

I'd imagine hosting the bots and sites selling the tickets outside the country would also make it fairly easy to circumvent.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Simple.

Step one - Print the ticket purchaser's name on the tickets.

Step two - Require photo ID at the venue to be allowed in.

Done.

If you want to allow a form of reselling, make the ticket sellers offer a buyback service (minus an administration fee) up to 24 hours before the event. They don't buy the actual ticket back, but they make it available in the system to be resold and the original purchaser can then destroy the (now invalid) tickets.

TheMeerkat

No. Just sell tickets at the market price in the first place and the problem solved.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Follow the money

How are the bad guy bots paying for all these tickets?

Surely if the same credit card is being used to buy more than the allocation limit you just block it for 24 hours?

DJO
Silver badge

Re: Follow the money

Too easy to circumvent by using lot's of pre-paid cards.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Follow the money

Pre-pay cards are identifiable and can be refused. Try hiring a car with one.

murrby

It's in the fans hands

If nobody bought from the touts they'd disappear.

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