The ticket tout tricksters

Rebecca Rutt's picture

Every year I get really angry when tickets for festivals sell out instantly even if the line up hasn’t yet been announced. With major events, like Glastonbury, tickets are on sale the year before and if you look away for a second from the computer screen, they’ve sold out and you’ve missed the chance to go. 

Although this seems like a cheap ploy for the organisers to earn more interest, there’s no getting around it apart from buying your tickets on the secondary market.
In the past if it’s something I’ve been really desperate to see I’ve bought tickets from ebay or gumtree but this is getting harder and harder because of the growing number of ticket touts on the internet. They seem to lurk on the internet instantly snapping up numerous tickets and reselling them for a huge profit. Although some sites now restrict the numbers of tickets you can buy, touts can use fake names and accounts to get hold of more tickets.
The deadline has now passed to apply for tickets to the London 2012 Olympic Games, and while many people are secretly hoping they don’t win all the tickets they’ve applied for and end up massively out of pocket, I am wondering how the organisers will ever be able to police reselling of tickets.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) says open market selling is illegal and is protected by an act of parliament but they have not yet announced any further details about how exactly this will be policed. It also said these details should be released later in the year but right now it seems an impossible task.
Selling on to friends and family will be allowed – but how on earth can they then differentiate between selling to friends and family and selling on the open market? For example if I emailed out all my friends because I had some tickets to get rid of, and then they forward on to their friends. I could easily end up selling it to someone I’ve never met before and would definitely not call a friend or family member. Does this mean I am then breaking the law?
And how do they know that the people that have applied for tickets genuinely want to go? Many people could have applied for tickets purely so that they can sell them on for a profit.
It’s a tough one to crack and I think LOCOG have a long way to go to get there. No doubt when it comes to the games, there will still be streets lined with ticket touts not so subtly selling tickets, the same way there is to nearly every major sporting or music gig across the country. 

Your Comments

Interestingly the two events quoted, namely the Glastonbury Festival and the Olympics are probably the two best examples of how to prevent secondary ticket sales. Glastonbury tickets have photos of the buyers actually on the tickets and this is policed thorough at the entrance gates at the Festival. As a result they do not appear on resale sites like eBay.

Likewise the IOC through LOCOG will ensure no tickets find their way on to eBay ( just like World Cup tickets) and there will be an official exchange site set up next year I believe.

That said it is the music events in particular that seem to attract the business of resale at inflated prices. Ticketmaster own "Get Me In" and indeed tickets sold initially by Ticketmaster are openly resold on this site. The irony is that TM get twice the commission on the smae tickets! Clealy it is the interests of many people not to stop it - otherwise like FIFa and UEFA they would surely?. I agree it is morally wrong but as they say if people are prepared to pay the price then they will continue to attract the sellers.

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