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Ed Sheeran leads charge against ticket touting, cancels 10,000 touted tickets

By | Published on Tuesday 18 July 2017

While I think it’s fair to say that opinion has been somewhat divided about the merits of Ed Sheeran’s cameo in the season premiere of ‘Game Of Thrones’, few are denying that the musician is currently sitting in the throne within the anti-touting game, after promoters of his next UK stadium tour announced that they were cancelling up to 10,000 touted tickets and putting them back onto the primary market.

Live firms Kilimanjaro, DHP Family and AEG Presents yesterday put out a joint statement confirming that they were going through with their pledge to cancel any touted tickets to Sheeran’s highly in demand 2018 stadium shows. They also told fans to only buy tickets from primary sellers or their approved secondary site – face value only resale platform Twickets – before singling out edsheerantickets2018.com, ticket-selection.com and good old Viagogo as total no-go zones if you’re planning on actually seeing Sheeran perform.

Of the big four UK secondary ticketing sites, only super shady Viagogo are still allowing the resale of Sheeran tickets, after eBay’s StubHub and Live Nation’s Seatwave and Get Me In! agreed to the musician’s request to block any touts attempting to sell on tickets to his shows for profit. Which was nice of them. Though, given most secondary sites commit to refund any ticket purchases that don’t actually get a customer access to a show, it makes sense for platforms to block resales where an artist or promoter is committed to cancelling any ticket that they reckon has been touted.

The live firms said yesterday: “[We] and Ed Sheeran’s team worked closely together in advance of the on-sale date to put in place measures designed to protect fans from profiteering companies”. Noting that “most profiteering companies heeded the promoters’ warnings not to trade and resell tickets that would instantly be cancelled”, the statement added: “This has resulted in 90% of tickets being delivered directly into fans’ hands at the face value”.

Taking aim at the one major secondary ticketing platform who chose not to heed those warnings, the statement continued: “Despite these efforts, it has become clear that one company, Viagogo, have ignored the promoters’ requests, and there is an increasing number of customers who are realising they have been duped by Viagogo’s false advertising and have unfortunately become victims of massive hidden overcharging for tickets”.

The claim of ‘false advertising’ mainly relates to the sneaky secondary site’s use of the word “official” in its prominent Google ads, something raised by the anti-tout FanFair Alliance last week and now being investigated by the advertising regulator in Ireland.

Talking tough, while bigging up both the FanFair initiative and the specific work of anti-tout campaigner Claire Turnham, the three live companies said that they “urge any customers who are concerned that they may have been defrauded by Viagogo to consult the FanFair Alliance website, where they will find a step-by-step guide on how to seek a refund”.

“This advice was written in partnership with Claire Turnham” they added, “campaigner and founder of the Facebook group Victims Of Viagogo, after she was herself a victim of their practices. It is intended not only for Ed Sheeran fans who have been mis-sold tickets on Viagogo, but for all those seeking redress from any of the dominant secondary ticketing companies”.

Confirming the ongoing efforts to cancel tickets they believe have been bought by touts for resale, the promoters said they “have been monitoring the sales transactions in close conjunction with the National Trading Standards Cyber Crime team and have identified many multiple purchases which are in contravention of the terms and conditions for the sale of the Ed Sheeran tickets, and as a result up to 10,000 tickets have now been cancelled and are being returned back into the market place for individual fans to purchase at face value”.

Finally, the live firms said that they would be reporting any touts who they believed had broken the various rules covering ticket resales in the UK Consumer Rights Act. They said: “All ticket resales that have been identified as breaking the newly updated Consumer Rights Act have been reported to the Competition And Markets Authority to aid their ongoing investigation into companies such as Viagogo”.

As previously reported, Sheeran’s management team became particularly vocal supporters of the campaign against secondary ticketing after touts started reselling tickets at hiked up prices for the musician’s recent charity show in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

That prompted Sheeran’s manager Stuart Camp to speak at a select committee hearing on secondary ticketing in Parliament, and to tell the BBC: “That’s a charity show, we put that show on to raise funds and people are just taking advantage, and it’s something that needs to be controlled. We’re looking for the enforcement of laws that already exist but we need to have greater transparency. At the moment [the touts] can hide behind certain things and it’s not great and that’s why there’s some confusion and anger”.



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