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Viagogo Says No No To Proposed Anti-Scalping Legislation In New South Wales

Springsteen

Somewhat predictably, second hand ticket clearing house Viagogo have released a statement regarding the proposed laws designed to limit scalping in New South Wales. The New York-based head of Viagogo’s Asia Pacific arm, Alex Levenson, had this to say:

The ticketing legislation Minister Roberts has proposed won’t work and will simply increase fraud by pushing people back to the black market.

We know from our experiences around the world that legislation, while well intentioned, is not the answer. Regulations on the sale of ticket do not protect consumers. Instead, they will send NSW back to the Wild West where people had to take their chances buying from shady people in pubs, car parks and outside venues.

The terms and conditions of a ticket, which are at the centre of the government’s proposals, do not protect the fans. Terms and conditions protect the promoter and primary ticket seller – for example, the terms and conditions outline that it’s the primary sellers right to substitute or cancel artists if they choose, and their right to withhold a refund or exchange. So while you might buy tickets for a Bruce Springsteen concert, you could end up watching The Muppets, or nothing at all.

These proposals are particularly surprising as we have just had a successful launch in Australia where the benefits of our service were universally applauded and even received a commendation from Minister Roberts himself. Consumer protection is at the heart of our business, and we believe that it’s most important that fans have safe, secure and guaranteed access to tickets. We also believe that once you have bought a ticket, it is up to you what you do with it – and eight out of ten Australians agree with us.
The facts are: ticket resale was legal yesterday, is legal today and we are confident that it will still be legal tomorrow, and we will continue to offer fans a service that provides safe, secure and guaranteed access to tickets.

It’s interesting that Levenson chose to namecheck The Boss, seeing as the furore in WA started when tickets for Bruce Springsteen’s first concert sold out in minutes, before shortly appearing on online auction sites at more than double the original price. At the time of writing, prices for Perth Springsteen tickets on Viagogo range from $255.17 up to a whopping $1444.35. Under the proposed legislation, Viagogo and similar companies would face fines of $5500 per offence for selling tickets for more than 110 per cent of their original price. Clearly, Levenson’s company has a vested interest in ensuring such laws are not adopted.

What do you guys think? Can we trust the free market to regulate after market ticket sales, or do we need regulation to give the fans a fair crack?

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